The Facts on File Companion to the British Short Story: Companion to the British Short Story (Companion to Literature Series)

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The Facts on File Companion to the British Short Story: Companion to the British Short Story (Companion to Literature Series)


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The Facts On File Companion to the British Short Story Copyright © 2007 by Andrew Maunder All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information contact: Facts On File, Inc. An imprint of Infobase Publishing 132 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001 ISBN-10: 0-8160-5990-X ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-5990-4 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The Facts On File companion to the British short story / [edited by] Andrew Maunder. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8160-5990-X (acid-free paper) 1. Short stories, English—History and criticism—Encyclopedias. I. Title: Companion to the British short story. II. Maunder, Andrew. III. Facts on File, Inc. PR829.F33 2006 823 .0109—dc22 2006006897 Facts On File books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quantities for businesses, associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call our Special Sales Department in New York at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755. You can find Facts On File on the World Wide Web at Text design adapted by James Scotto-Lavino Cover design by Cathy Rincon Printed in the United States of America VB Hermitage 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 This book is printed on acid-free paper.




The acknowledgment of the short story’s place in Britain’s literary history is one of the most striking developments of recent years. The British short story— from Walter Scott’s tales of rural Scottish laborers to Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventures of the metropolitan master of disguise Sherlock Holmes to Virginia Woolf’s experiments in depicting human consciousness—has come to be read and studied in high schools, colleges, and universities across the world and recognized as an “adventurous, inventive, very various and, above all, a discovering form,” to quote Malcolm Bradbury (8). The aim of this new book—intended as a companion to Abby Werlock’s Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story—is to provide insight into the wealth and variety of the British version of this favorite American form. The book maps out some of the main strands that have shaped the British short story and novella since the early 19th century. It provides up-todate discussions of key stories and story collections as well as discussions of the careers of all the most widely studied exponents of the genre—for example, James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Katherine Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Bowen, and William Trevor. In selecting the stories and writers to cover in this volume, the editor has combed through popular anthologies and literature textbooks, in both the United States and Great Britain. This volume also includes essays on other “lost” or neglected authors who have more recently started to find their way into the classroom,

such as George Egerton, Bram Stoker, Mary Butts, and Margaret Oliphant. Furthermore, this book also aims to help students and readers whose interests are taking them beyond the classroom and who want to find out more about the British short story as it is being written today. Therefore, it also contains discussions of younger writers whose bold experiments with the short story have started to make an impact on the literary scene: Will Self, Toby Litt, Nicola Barker, and Janice Galloway, among many others. The book analyzes, as well, some of the historical and cultural conditions under which the short story has developed in Britain and considers the recurrence of key themes, such as class, women’s roles and ambitions, Englishness, the British Empire, and crime and detection. One of the things this book has not tried to do is to reinforce old-fashioned and stereotyped ideas about “merrie England,” with the short story “marooned among buffers and buffoons, bucolics, butties and Blimps,” as the writer A. S. Byatt has put it (15). Instead—and appropriately for the 21st century—the book recognizes the deeper political and cultural dimensions of the terms English, Irish, Welsh, and Scottish and what it means to be British, distinctions that are usefully illuminated by the contributors here. Additionally, the book includes discussions of works by important and widely studied writers from the former British colonies—such as Henry James (United States), Olive Schreiner (South Africa), Katherine Mansfield (New Zealand), Salman Rushdie and Anita



Desai (India), and V. S. Naipaul (Trinidad/India). To include these writers is to use the term British in a fairly expansive, rather than proprietorial, way. It is done on the basis that these are writers who, for some years, lived and made a considerable part of their careers on the British mainland and whose work can partly be read as coming out of, or throwing light on, various elements of the British short story, its development, and its scope. The British Empire was a fruitful source for writers at the beginning of the 20th century—Kipling and Maugham in particular—who can never be disregarded. Now British literature has a postcolonial dimension, made up of an assortment of different global voices and progenies that make up a multicultural body of literature. These authors look back to the early 20th century and also forward, bringing a non-European cultural awareness to the confines of British fiction. One of the reasons that this volume has been published now is that the time is right for a fresh look at the British short story. In the United Kingdom, the form is enjoying a revival in its fortunes. Prompted partly by the rise of university and college creative writing courses in which the short story has been adopted as one of the most obvious teaching tools, claims for the genre’s importance have started to reappear in a multitude of settings. In 2004 Small Wonder, Britain’s first annual literary festival devoted exclusively to the short story, was launched. The launch, in that same year, of the £10,000 International Orange Award for New Writing (a spin-off from the £30,000 Orange prize for fiction), together with the National Short Story Prize in 2005, the Frank O’Connor award (also 2005), and the long-standing Bridport prize, is part of an increasing awareness that the short story deserves critical (and financial) recognition and should be taken seriously, as it is in the United States. It is, moreover, a form in which many of the leading British fiction writers of the past 20 years have revealed particular talents. To pick up Giles Gordon’s and David Hughes’s anthology The Best British Short Stories 1986– 1995, replete with stories by A. S. Byatt, Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, J. G. Ballard, Adam Mars Jones, Fay Weldon, and Rose Tremain, is to be reminded, as the editors point out, of the short story’s “vigour and met-

tle, its social awareness and literary acumen” (Gordon and Hughes, 7). Moreover, to log on to the British Arts Council’s Web campaign, “Save Our Short Story” (, with its stock of new works by Ian Rankin, Ali Smith, Michael Faber, and others, is likewise to be reminded of the form’s diversity and depth and to realize that it is not the exclusive property of the literati, encompassing the detective story, the thriller, the science fiction story, the horror story, “Chick Lit,” “Lad Lit,” travel writing, erotica, and more. The discussions that occupy these and other short story sites, plus a browse among bookstore shelves and the Web pages of, reveal that those interested in the British short story have plenty to read. In addition to the influential anthologies that appear in the classroom—from Malcolm Bradbury’s Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (1987) and A. S. Byatt’s Oxford Book of English Short Stories (1998), through Susan Hill’s Penguin Book of Modern Women’s Short Stories (1996; 1998), to David Marcus’s Best New Irish Stories (2005), not to mention larger literature anthologies, such as the Norton—there are multiple collections by such landmark practitioners of the genre as Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, and Agatha Christie. Then there are the recent collections of stories by authors whose work has started to become the subject of reevaluation and rediscovery, such as Viking’s Complete Short Stores of Muriel Spark (2001) and The Music at Long Verney (2001), a collection of Sylvia Townsend Warner stories originally published in the New Yorker. In 2005 new collections appeared of work by two colorful but overlooked exponents of the 1930s and 1940s short story: Julian Maclaren-Ross and Michael McLaverty. Readers can also debate the short stories broadcast daily on BBC Radio Four, where stories by Oscar Wilde and Elizabeth Taylor (not the actress) are read alongside new work by Stevie Davies, Mick Jackson, and Jackie Kay. A new magazine, Prospect, gives a proportion of its space to short story writers, and in August 2005 in a move toward on-line publishing, announced that it would do the same. Unlike literary prizes, which at worst can be read as cynical exercises in marketing and at best as contentious, this willing-


ness of publishers and agents to back the short story seems concrete testimony to the genre’s renaissance. I use the term renaissance because one of the issues I want to consider in this introduction is the historiography of the British short story and its critical fortunes. What does the short story mean to us? What role has it played in Britain’s literary heritage? Answers to this question fluctuate wildly. There is the short story as exquisite miniature, “art in highly concentrated form,” as William Boyd has described it, whose effects are akin to those of the multivitamin pill “a compressed blast of discerning, intellectual pleasure.” There is another British short story—the British short story that is narrow, insipid, inward-looking, and commercial, whose publishers insist upon gimmicky themes in order to attract readers, “Thirty-one Irish tales of drink” or “Fifteen humorous stories about sports” being typical tag lines (Marvor, 5). Another section of the current literary establishment has tended to present the British short story as a “bastard” genre and as an “endangered species” (Ezard, 8). William Trevor, long acclaimed as the undisputed master of the form, recently noted that for much of the 1980s and 1990s the short story was an incredibly “unpopular” genre with British publishers, who got it into their heads that the reading public did not like—or couldn’t cope with—the genre. There was some truth in this, as Trevor acknowledges. Contrary to what one might think, the short story, Trevor explained, does not sit easily in a market that demands easily digestible fare. “You play a different game with the short story. You demand far more of the reader than you do with a novel, or television” (quoted in Lane). Helen Simpson has likewise suggested that in the sound-bite culture of the 21st century, one in which we demand spoon-feeding and instant gratification, the short story—a form by nature “nervous . . . adrenalised, very quick, not restful” that works by “giving you the raw ingredients and telling you to make the meal yourself”—had lost much of its appeal (Lane, 23). Then there is the viewpoint that sees the British short story as provincial and twee, a pale imitation of its vital U.S. counterpart, “culturally redundant and economically unviable” as the editor of Prospect, Alexander Linklater, recently observed when explaining the vision behind the

National Short Story Prize. This version of the short story has encouraged the long-held view that the story is done better in America, and that it is only in America, thanks to publications like the New Yorker, that the short story is properly appreciated (Levy, 27). So familiar is this argument that the richness and variety of the British short story tends to get pushed to one side, despite the prevalence of British short fiction in today’s classrooms, in both the United States and Great Britain. Whatever one’s take on the genre, these different views of the short story have set the terms for a critical debate that has been played out for many years and has now taken off once more. What, then, is the “British short story”? From what did it originate? How do we classify and define it? One response is that despite a great deal of discussion, its history remains fairly indeterminate, so much so that it is usual to preface accounts of its genesis and development with mention of its multifariousness. Writing about the short story as it exists in the 21st century, Philip Hensher suggests that “it’s impossible to diagnose the state of the short story, make any suggestion where it might be going, since it’s impossible to say where it has come.” The British short story also seems to be a genre difficult to pin down. “On the whole,” argues Hensher, “the classic short story runs from 5,000–10,000 words, and prefers the single situation to plot and subplot entrelacement.” John Mullan suggests a similar length but writes of the short story’s ending as making us feel that “we are stopping short of resolution or conclusion.” The hackneyed notion that the short story is merely “practice space for fiction” has also come in for a good deal of scrutiny (McCarthy, 27). Many argue that short stories are harder to write than long fiction. Bill Naughton wrote that “[i]n a novel there is scope to spell things out and in effect to tie up all loose ends, but in a quality short story little must be said yet everything implied” (quoted in Ezard, 8). Susan Hill argues that “every word must tell—there is . . . no room for in-filling” since the short story is “an unforgiving form” (9). There is thus a sense that the form requires a special kind of skilled—or possibly brutal—craftsmanship. This involves “cutting it really quite savagely so it becomes bare, removing every ounce of skin and flesh


so you’re just left with the bones,” as William Trevor recently put it (Lane, 23). To use the short story as a way of carrying out a panoramic critique of society is not something that many recommend. Instead the consensus has always been that the short story is what Trevor calls “the art of the glimpse” (Coldstream, 9). It does not present whole lives but fleeting moments in a life through a dramatic or poignant incident or a turning point. This may be an incident that triggers conflict between characters or marks a change in the mind-set of another and that is followed through to a kind of resolution. The short story’s very shortness and ability to be read at one sitting can be an advantage, helping create the kind of “unified effect” recommended by its “patron saint,” Edgar Allan Poe, and still advocated today (Levy, 27). The contradictions that critics identify have been formulated in many ways, but as well as disagreements about form, about word-length, about the use of labels—the difference, for example, between the tale and story—there is the confusion arising out of the fact that, as Philip Hensher suggests, the British short story is a Frankenstein’s monster of a genre, one “which makes its way in life as best it can, without anything much in the way of respectable forebears.” As has been noted, it is difficult to ascribe an essential “Britishness” to the form, in contrast, for example, to the way that critics of the American short story tend to recognize an “essential Americaness” (Lee, 11). So while there are plenty of antecedents for the short story, the consensus has generally been that in Britain it was not until late in the 19th century that the short story, at least as a “concentrated form of writing” (Bradbury, 11), was born. In 1905, Hilaire Belloc, writing in the Manchester Guardian, pronounced the short story “a very modern thing.” “What brought it into being,” he added, “has not been discovered, though the subject has been discussed at great length” (“Short and Sweet”). More recently, Roger Luckhurst noted that the term “short story” was not used until 1884 (17). Explanations for the late emergence of the short story in Britain have taken several forms. In a notable article, “The Tardy Evolution of the British Short Story,” Dean Baldwin describes the genre as “one of the more curious anomalies of literary history.” He goes on:

By the 1840s the genre was already established in America, and within two decades it had taken root in Germany, Russia, and France. I am speaking here, of course, of the modern short story, defined loosely as Poe’s story of “single effect,” not simply of fiction shorter than the typical novel. This modern story did not achieve prominence in Britain until the 1880s, even though Britain would appear especially likely to develop the genre, since during the period of the story’s “invention,” if we may call it that, Britain was a world leader in the writing and dissemination of fiction. (1) According to this version of events, the late emergence of the British short story is a result of the dominance for most of the 19th century of the full-length novel as the chief fictional form. It was not until the creation of a new mass of readers, following the education acts introduced between 1870 and 1890, that the short story came into its own. This legislation led to compulsory elementary education for all but had the side effect of prompting a flood of new cheap magazines and papers, many of which gave a central place to short fiction. Magazines such as Titbits and The Strand—the latter featuring the first appearances of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes—gained mass readerships and places “at the centre of respectable popular British culture” (MacDonald, 154). Moreover, while the novel did not die out, many authors appreciated the fact that the short story involved much less complicated business arrangements. The Atlantic Monthly, in explaining “the present popularity of the short story with authors and public alike,” suggested that “here is a form of literature easy to read and write. The author is often paid as much for a story as he earns from the copyrights of a novel, and it costs him one tenth the labor. The multitude of magazines and other periodicals creates a constant market, with steadily rising prices. . . . The public pays its money and takes its choice” (Perry, 250). In this way, the genre saturated the culture and commerce of an era that saw massive shifts in the way literature was acquired, produced, and consumed. “Short stories broke out everywhere,” recalled H. G. Wells of the 1890s (Richardson, 45).


Moreover, there were so many magazines that, as Wells noted, even stories “of the slightest distinction” tended to find an outlet. Merely labeling or bestowing a birth date to something does not, of course, mean that it did not exist before. So while it has been convenient to suggest that the short story did not bulk very large before the burst of activity in the 1880s, it is still possible to find examples in the earlier part of the 19th century. As the present volume reveals, there are plenty of texts that have some kind of relationship to the modern short story, even if the formal shapes used and labels given them—“tale,” “sketch,” “fable,” “short tale”—are different. In moving the scope of our survey backward chronologically, the aim has also been to provide a more inclusive, if not totally comprehensive, overview of the 19th-century short story, one that recognizes the strong legacy of development left by previous generations of writers and editors, including Maria Edgeworth, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, Mary Russell Mitford, and Charles Dickens. Their influence still often goes unrecognized. For example, despite Percy Fitzgerald’s claim that “Dickens always seemed to hanker after the short story” (quoted in Thomas, 2), Dickens’s seemingly relaxed approach—his loose definition of the short story as “anything told orally by a narrator within the story or as anything shorter than four serial instalments”—has helped ensure that this element of his writing has tended to be viewed very much as secondary to his novels (Thomas, 3). This viewpoint, however, ignores such influential texts as Sketches By Boz (1834–36), A Christmas Carol (1843), and the much-anthologized ghost story “The Signalman” (1866), among others. Moreover, Dickens’s involvement in the magazine market of his day through Bentley’s Miscellany (1837–39), Household Words (1850–59), and All the Year Round (1859–70) ensured that he was a powerful catalyst in the short story’s emergence. The magazines Dickens edited showcased works by his protégés and rivals, notably Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Anthony Trollope, writers who began to turn the concise sketch or anecdote into a story with a definite, often suspenseful, plot. Theirs are often realist stories, meaning that they use recognizable characters and carefully described settings and they focus on the demands of society upon the individual.

However, a parallel development in the 1850s was the growing interest in “sensational” stories of crime and deviance, often taking place within the supposedly safe confines of the family home. When taken together, mid-century stories by Collins, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Sheridan le Fanu, Ellen (Mrs. Henry) Wood, Mary Braddon, Lucy Clifford, and Rhoda Broughton cover a remarkably wide range of subjects: murder, adultery, degeneration, love, adventure, betrayal, and weird or “uncanny” events—hauntings, the return of the dead, second sight. These stories are a long way from the cozy, rose-tinted image of the mid-Victorians as a staid, earnest, and rather dull bunch. As short stories they are also more various than the standard criticism often makes out, focusing in uncomfortable ways on sexual passion, marriage, and homes in which violence, or the possibility of violence, is always lurking. One of the things the present volume also tries to do is to point out types of short story that are proving of particular interest to critics in 2006, including works by writers who have tended to languish outside the literary canon. For example, among the anthologies of 19th-century British short stories recently reissued, several have focused on the 1890s, or the fin de siècle as it tends to be known. This has prompted suggestions from feminist critics that “the best work of the decade was in the short story rather than the novel” and that much of it came from women writers (Showalter 1995, 12). Elaine Showalter writes: The novel was a problematic genre for fin de siècle women writers, as many of them realised. Too often it tended to the didactic, episodic and stiff, whereas the short story was supple, impressionistic and intense. Women writers in the 1890s found in the short story a suitable form for the new feminist theories of the decade: the exploration of female sexuality and fantasy; the development of a woman’s language, and the critique of male aestheticism. (1995, 12) Recent critics of the short story have followed Showalter in thinking about the feminine dimension to many short stories of the late 19th century. This includes the ways in which many texts can be seen to deal at least


in part with the so-called Woman Question, presenting questions and viewpoints about female emancipation, about a woman’s rights to education and professional training and to earning and keeping her own income and property. The fin de siècle has traditionally been seen as notable for stories by writers associated with the shortlived decadent and aesthetic movements, notably Ernest Dowson and Oscar Wilde, whose texts were often associated in the public mind with “outrageous” expressions of perversity and sensuality, full of ideas of ennui or moral exhaustion. However, it was the smallscale short stories by such New Woman writers as George Egerton, Ella D’Arcy, Vernon Lee, and Ella Hepworth Dixon (among others) that seeped into the literary market and helped create widespread feeling that modern woman was trying to rebel against domestic life. Readers of the late-Victorian and Edwardian short story—by men as well as women—can easily see these texts as symbols of early feminist rebellion. Many writers of the time were preoccupied with the issue of woman—the independent woman, the unfulfilled woman, monstrous woman, the “erotomaniac,” the emancipated woman who committed the cardinal sin of unsexing herself by personally rejecting marriage and sacred motherhood altogether—and the short story was “a particularly appropriate vehicle for the expression of ex-centric, alienated vision,” as Claire Hanson suggests (3). Overall, the increasing emphasis given to the women’s short story by recent feminist critics can be seen as a rebuke to the tendency on the part of certain 20th-century critics to claim the short story as male preserve, even, as has been suggested, using phallic language to do so. Notable here is H. G. Wells’s pronouncement that “in order to produce its ‘one single vivid effect,’ the short story must ‘seize the attention at the outset, and never relaxing, gather it together more and more until the climax is reached.’. . . [It must] ‘explode and finish before interruption occurs or fatigue sets in’ ” (quoted in Brown, xviii). Wells’s account, which seems intended to privilege men’s literary work, is unusual in its explicitness, but it does square with attempts by the literary intelligentsia of the 1890s to “reclaim the kingdom of the English novel for male writers, male readers and men’s

stories,” as Showalter puts it (1992, 142). This mission helped ensure that many fine short stories by women were brushed aside and ignored by those responsible for putting anthologies together and for teaching the short story—at least until recently (Showalter, 142). Because authorship itself was undergoing significant change and becoming more obviously professional, it is no surprise that some writers used the short story to talk about what it was to be an author or artist—as did Henry James in “Greville Fane” (1892) and “The Real Thing” (1892) and Vernon Lee in “Lady Tal” (1892). For others, the very shortness of the short story was the obvious form for the new breakneck speed of the modern age with its trains, steamships, motorcars, omnibuses, telegrams, and telephones. Bliss Perry believed the short story to be “a kind of writing perfectly adapted to our over-driven generation, which rushes from one task of engagement to another and between times, or on the way, snatches up a story” (251). This idea that the short story thrives in a disordered, fast-paced, fragmented society has remained a popular one, as has the idea that it is a form particularly suited to conveying a peculiarly “modern” sense of dislocation and uncertainty. The strength of the British short story has often been what Wendell Harris has described as its ability “to isolate, to portray the individual person, or moment, or scenes in isolation detached from the great continuum.” In this way the short story is often held up as “the natural vehicle for the presentation of the outsider” and also “for the moment whose intensity makes it seem outside the ordinary stream of time . . . or outside our ordinary range of experience” (11). One of the realizations that will emerge from a reading of the present volume is that trying to disentangle the moral, social, and aesthetic dimensions of the short story at the beginning of the 20th century is a complex undertaking. There is no exact starting point, no single Poe-like figure who stands out, although the French realist writer Guy de Maupassant and the more impressionistic Russian Anton Chekov are often cited as influential figures (Fedderson, 22). The years leading up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914 saw the culture of the short story expanding: detective fiction including G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories;


colonial stories by Kipling and Maugham, with their examination of the so-called white man’s burden in the far-flung reaches of the British Empire; suffragette fiction, sympathetic to women seeking the vote; children’s fiction, including Beatrix Potter; and the sharp, satiric observations of the Edwardian social scene by E. M. Forster and the author known as Saki (Hector Hugh Munro). Clearly, at any moment in the history of fiction a range of styles is likely to be in evidence as older writers continue to publish alongside members of a younger generation. This seems to have been particularly true in the first two decades of the 20th century, which saw the gradual emergence of the loose literary movement known as modernism, involving a dismissal of many of the previous generation of Victorian writers by a new literary intelligentsia. This was coupled with bold experimentations with narrative techniques, with point of view, with time and space, with new visions made up of the scattered impressions of individual consciousnesses and selves. Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, and Joseph Conrad are often seen as the precursors to the high modernist short story— important hinges between the Victorian outlook on the one hand and the modern 20th-century viewpoint on the other—before it was injected with new vigor by James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence, among others. The works of both these writers are notable for their focus on the drab, but often tragic, lives of working- and lower-middle-class characters, for their striking use of symbolism, and for their challenges to the barriers of what could and could not be said. Modernism, however, is equally associated with members of the so-called Bloomsbury Group, named after a salubrious area in central London near the British Museum where many of them lived and met. The group comprised a wealthier but loose coterie of artists and writers including Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. Like Lawrence and Joyce, the work of these two women writers has also been seen to represent something strikingly new and different but also unsettling. Somerset Maugham, another influential short story writer who argued that the best stories are “well made” and “strongly plotted,” accused Mansfield of writing plotless stories “using atmosphere to ‘decorate a story so thin’ that it could not exist with-

out its trimmings” (Shaw, 16). Nonetheless, the bestknown modernist short stories—including Mansfield’s “The Garden Party,” Woolf’s “Kew Gardens,” and Joyce’s “The Dead”—have been viewed as sublime pieces of craftsmanship in which their authors, far from being restricted by word length, use the formal limitations of the short story as a tool for innovation and experimentation in the depiction of human psychology and the representation of individual subjectivities and impressions. Although it is often suggested that the modernists were heavily influenced by the impressionism of Chekhov (May, 51), the modernists’ own important—some would say self-important— sense of their mission was spelled out by Virginia Woolf in 1918 when she discussed the writer’s task: “If we are not mistaken, it is his purpose to catch and enclose certain moments which break off from the mass, in which without bidding things come together in a combination of inexplicable significance, to arrest those thoughts which suddenly, to the thinker at least, are almost menacing with meaning” (Burgan, 269). Although the modernists have often been charged with self-aggrandizement and snobbery, collections such as Mansfield’s Bliss (1920), Woolf’s Monday or Tuesday (1921), and Lawrence’s England, My England (1922) suggested to observers of the 1920s and 1930s that the short story could still be an exciting literary form. Elizabeth Bowen, looking back from the perspective of 1945, believed these works “captured, as truly as anything in our literature, the psychological atmosphere of that time,” that is, the early 1920s (13). As the essays in the present volume discuss, Woolf and Mansfield saw the overriding aim of the modernist story as an attempt “to represent slight incidents of implication within the structures of an intensively managed fictional form,” something in evidence in the titles of such much-anthologized works as Woolf’s “The Moment” and Mansfield’s “Prelude” (Burgan, 268). The success of the modernists’ attempts to “make a ‘sudden arrest’ of the moment” was a theme taken up in 1924 when Alfred C. Ward recorded the shift that had taken place in short story writing. He argued that the new techniques were symptomatic of the “contemporary mind,” which was


no longer to regard human life as fixed within plainly defined and immutable boundaries. Life is now depicted as an affair of jagged and blurred edges, of hazy and indefinable outlines, where dim half-lights afford little opportunity for clear discernment. The conscious and the subconscious intermingle; death and life are uncertainly poised; the subconscious impinges upon the unconscious. (16) Ward had mixed feelings about this kind of writing. He disapproved of it when it resembled “a fashionable Freudian ‘pathological’ pamphlet” but he appreciated, as later critics have done, the creative ambition behind such attempts—“a genuine wish to explore new fields of thought opened up by advances in psychological study.” Ward had no patience with those who privileged plot and who claimed, as Maugham had done, that “nothing happens” in these stories. Ward explained that what was being conveyed was very significant: “the emotional processes which transpire within two beings who are passing through probably the most tremendous experiences possible” (18–19). Some of these experiences were, of course, those that involved coming to terms with the bloodbath of World War I (1914–18). Whether they supported or opposed the war, both male and female writers, including Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Machen, Mary Butts, and Radclyffe Hall, tried to find new ways of writing about trauma and the kinds of demands placed on the individual at home and at the front. So powerful are many of these stories that, as Trudi Tate has noted in her anthology Men, Women, and the Great War, “[o]ur own knowledge of the events of the Great War often comes through literary works,” and the short story becomes “one of the key ways in which war was written as history” (4). Later, the widespread sense after the war of a chance for “a fresh start” “helped accelerate” the new modernist generation’s search for different ways of diagnosing and representing human experience (Goldie, 29–30). The modernist sense of fragmentation, of fleeting glimpses, of loss, of exclusion and estrangement, of disintegration and instability, is evident in many of the stories written in response to the conflict. Predictably perhaps, something of this instability is apparent in the subsequent history of the 20th-cen-

tury short story. Periodicizing is still a difficult task, and as Malcolm Bradbury argues, it is “harder to suppose that there is a single or clear cut tradition” (14). Not all writers of the 1920s or 1930s were modernists. This was the so-called golden age of the detective story, when Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers reached their peak. The 1930s were also good decades for A. E. Coppard and H. E. Bates, whose lyrical tales of the countryside helped encourage a sense of Englishness that was still rural, as well as for the elegant stylists Elizabeth Bowen and Elizabeth Taylor. The 1920s left a legacy of experimentalism, but some commentators observed a lack of social or political commitment. This was a charge levied by Edward O’Brien, writing in the introduction to The Best Short Stories (1934), in which he claimed that English writers were “so preoccupied with economy of effect” that their work appeared “sterile and inbred.” “I believe deeply,” he wrote, “that the English short story is in danger of being abandoned to delicate . . . young men who write beautifully about nothing.” He finished on a familiar note by asking, “Is not the American short story much more the more memorable, much the more vital?” (10). Certainly one of the things that seemed to emerge in the 1930s was a sense that that the short story was not fulfilling its potential for recording the human condition. This was particularly evident after the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Writing “The Short Story in England” for Britain To-Day as the end of the war seemed to be in sight, Elizabeth Bowen predicted that the short story would emerge as “the ideal prose medium for war-time creative writing,” that “war-time London, blitzed, cosmopolitan, electric with anticipation now teems, I feel, with untold but tellable stories, glitters with such scenes that cry aloud for the pen. So must our other cities, our ports and sea-coast, our factory settlements, our mobilized countryside.” “I forsee,” she added, “a record crop of short stories immediately after the war” (15–16). These predictions did not quite come to fruition, however. During the war the short story was certainly encouraged in magazines such as Horizon (1940–50), which published works by Graham Greene, Frank


O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, Elizabeth Bowen, and H. E Bates. Also influential was Penguin New Writing (1940– 50), which published Rosamund Lehmann and Elizabeth Bowen alongside American writers like Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams. Other magazines included Orion, Daylight, and the Windmill, as well as the more middle-brow Penguin Parade (1937–48) and English Story, whose editor, Woodrow Wyatt, also championed the short story as “the poem of the modern world,” amenable to being written by those who were employed in the armed services in between sentry duty or on leave (6). By 1945, however, there seemed to be much less inclination on the part of many writers to write about this war than there had been to write about World War I, and there seemed much more resistance to retrospection generally. Partly this was due to practicalities. In 1940 Woodrow Wyatt reported that “the short story in this country has fallen on lean days” and ascribed the decline to paper shortages (5–6), together with editors’ unwillingness to take risks and the closure of several magazines. P. G. Wodehouse—admittedly an unlikely writer of wartime stories—wrote to a friend in the aftermath of the war lamenting the collapse of the once buoyant Strand Magazine, asking “Where can [a writer] sell his stories?” and recalling 17 magazines from his childhood “and probably a dozen more that I’ve forgotten.” Wodehouse’s apparent inability to sell stories may well have had something to do with his status as persona non grata following his own undistinguished—and, some claimed, traitorous—war, in which he foolishly made pro-German broadcasts before moving to the United States, but his own view was that magazines died of “slanting” (the demand that all stories be written to a pattern) and “names” (printing anything by anyone famous even if it was substandard) (Dutton, 8). Other writers made similar complaints. Most critics who have written on the post-World War II short story make the point that after 1945, the decline of magazines meant that there was no longer a ready outlet for short fiction. According to this version of events, the novel and poem began to prove more amenable templates for creative work that wanted to capture the strange mood of dullness and renewal in the postwar years. Dennis Vanetta describes the post-

war short story as “for the most part middle-aged and graying around the temples,” its main practitioners having been born before World War I (35). Malcolm Bradbury also gives a similar message in his classic anthology The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories. Bradbury, however, sees the “New Look” postwar tradition of the short story as more complex than might be supposed—one of “realistic or reportorial narrative,” which captures something of the post-1945 world of rationing and bureaucratization, versus “the notion of it as an art of language, of experimental form and symbol,” this new tradition in turn sometimes “led in the direction of the strange, the fantastic, the grotesque, the surreal and the mythic.” He also suggests that the short story that emerged in the drab postwar years could be divided into traditions, “one pre-eminently social and one pre-eminently experimental, but a sequence of constant attempts at reconciliation” (13). As if to prove his point, Bradbury’s now-classic collection begins with stories by Malcolm Lowry, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett—the last about as experimental as writers got in the 1950s—and moves through V. S. Pritchett, Jean Rhys, and Muriel Spark to the more abrasive stance of two of the so-called angry young men representative of the social revolution taking place in Britain in the 1950s: Kingsley Amis and Alan Sillitoe (Vanetta, 34). Bradbury’s collection attempts to give the reader a snapshot of the social concerns of 1950s short fiction, together with the sense that fiction was being written outside the narrow confines of London. Moreover, this was not simply provincial fiction or working-class fiction. The presence of Bowen and Beckett is a reminder that throughout the history of the British short story, fundamental to its development has been the work of writers originating from outside England in her old colonies. In Ireland writers as different as George Moore, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and W. B. Yeats emerged at the end of the 19th century, followed by Frank O’Connor, Bowen, and Beckett in the 20th. All helped redraw the map of what Irish short stories might look like. The significance of the short story in Irish literary culture has been much commented on, but recently C. L. Dallat, reviewing Faber’s Book of New Irish Short Stories 2004–5 writes that the genre


has long recognised-roots in the demands of societies in flux: where long-stable cultures in England and France led inexorably to the long-gestation novel, the new-founded 19th century U.S., seismic 20th-century central Europe and post-independence Ireland all opted for brevity, the latter context producing a particular flourishing in the hands of [Sean] O’Faolain, [Liam] O’Flaherty and [Frank] O’Connor, all more or less involved in the early-20th century struggle. (10) Frank O’Connor called the short story the genre of “submerged population groups” who find themselves in “frontier” or “outsider” situations (20), perhaps making use of “local colour” situations. This is also a theme taken up in accounts of Welsh writing. In a recent article on the English-language short story in Wales, Tony Brown quotes Claire Hanson’s explanation why the short story seems to appeal to sections of the writing population. According to Hanson, “The formal properties of the short story—disjunction, inconclusiveness, obliquity—connect with its ideological marginality, and with the fact that the form may be used to express something suppressed/repressed” (2). In Wales, both Welsh and Anglo-Welsh writers—the latter doubly marginalized in that they are neither Welsh nor English—including Margiad Evans, Dylan Thomas, Rhy Davies, and Caradoc Evans, wrote through the Great Depression and the two world wars to take in the industrial and the pastoral, social struggle and nationalist idealism, conscious that theirs were “ex-centric” voices, cut off from the center of power and influence, London. A similar picture has been found in Scotland, the home of a long-developed tradition of published storytelling from Walter Scott at the beginning of the 19th century to the “weird tales” of Margaret Oliphant and Robert Louis Stevenson at the end. Since then the Scottish tradition has encompassed Muriel Spark, Alistair Gray, and, more recently, Irvine Welsh, Bernard McLaverty, James Kelman, A. L. Kennedy, Janice Galloway, and Margaret Elphistone. Writing in the 1980s—a time when the economic north/south divide (and literary divide) that existed in Britain was becoming more acute—some like Kelman and Welsh, began to use the language of the streets to give voice

to the marginalized or unemployed working classes. Others, Liam McIlvanney claims, invoke political as well as literary alienation from the rest of Britain, their stories all giving voice with considerable linguistic adventurousness to “people whom literature habitually ignores” (McIlvanney, 184). They have been lauded for refusing to “trim their Scottish sails to suit the prejudices of editors and marketing managers of London publishers” (Glen, 30) and for refusing to perpetuate the picture of Britain as cozy, southern, metropolitan, comfortable, and cricket-playing and as synonymous with England. A series of notable anthologies in the late 1980 and 1990s, among them Polygon’s Original Prints: New Writing from Scottish Women (1985–89), James Robertson’s A Tongue in Yer Heid (1994), and Harper Collins’s Three Kinds of Kissing (1993), the first of an annual series of collections of new writing, allowed Scottish writers—both names and unknowns—to make their voices heard south of the border. Like the list of authors included in Malcolm Bradbury’s anthology, the choice of contemporary (post-1980) authors and stories given space in the present volume is partial in both senses of the word and can only serve as a reminder of the dimensions of the short story and the complex questions the form continues to provoke. As has been suggested, a sense that there remains a difficulty in coming to grips with the British short story is currently much in evidence in the British press. However, one thing most critics do agree on is that the form has been shaken up since the early 1980s. Twenty-five years ago Chris Bigsby echoed the thoughts of many in the literary world when he suggested that British fiction had become “a cosily provincial, deeply conservative, anti-experimental enterprise, resistant to innovation,” reflecting what many saw as the ethos of Margaret Thatcher’s hard-line Conservative government (to 1990) with its strong tendency toward nationalism (Morrison, 4). This was partly overturned with the emergence of a generation of young writers born after World War II, voices that signaled a shift from realism as the preferred mode to writing that came to be termed postmodern. Although publishers and agents had by this time begun to push young authors toward the novel form, in the mid-


1980s supporters of the British short story could point to Ian McEwan’s macabre explorations of depraved and socially unacceptable behaviour, Martin Amis’s vicious satires on the greed and materialism of the decade, and Graham Swift’s fictional cocktails of torment, alienation, and fragmentation as a body of work that suggested “revitalization” plus “new voices and new styles,” as Elaine Showalter has noted (2002, 67). By this time, readers had slowly begun to be aware also of the revisionist work of a new generation of women short story writers, notably Angela Carter and Michèle Roberts, who combined formal experimentation and feminist themes. Carter’s magic realist vision is epitomized in The Bloody Chamber (1979), her second collection of short stories, which takes on traditional (misogynistic) fairy tales, already endlessly rewritten, and re-presents them with gothic, feminist, and overtly sexual elements; Black Venus (1985), similarly intertextual, continues her appropriation of other texts, her retelling (demythologizing) of myths, and the growing recognition that “the narrative constructions of history must always be partial and problematic” (Morrison, 24). Recent work by A. S. Byatt and Kate Atkinson has continued this tradition of taking up the histories of different characters across different time periods; Byatt, like Carter, returns to folktales and fairy tales, and Atkinson, similarly historically aware, merges social and political events and anxieties into the context and textures of her women’s lives. Atkinson came to prominence in the 1990s, by which time the literary world was also seeing the first stories from a new generation of writers born in the 1960s: Will Self, Toby Litt, Philip Hensher, Nicola Barker, and Nicola Simpson, writers whose work has sometimes proved controversial and shocking in its postmodernist take on a post-Thatcher Britain of shoplifters, celebrities, sleaze, and rent boys, plus the obligatory sex, drugs, and rock and roll. More recently, collections such as All Hail the New Puritans (2000), Speaking with the Angel (2000), and England Calling (2002) have helped redefine the possibilities of the short story genre, adding to the immense complexity and scale of the form as it has been and still is produced by British writers. At the beginning of this introduction I suggested that these are exciting times for the British short story,

with its diverse and not very ordered history. The selections of essays that make up the present book are intended to reflect this. The intention has been to provide insight into the wealth and variety of the British short story, to offer new readings and new perspectives on some of the most popular stories and novellas of this period, and to give a sense of what A. S. Byatt has described as the “threads of connection and contrast” that run through them (14). Above all, the inclusion of essays about contemporary writers and texts is intended to signal that the British short story is very much alive and worthy of further study.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Baldwin, Dean. “The Tardy Evolution of the British Short Story,” Studies in Short Fiction 30, no. 1 (1993): 1–10. Basham, Diana. The Trial of Woman: Feminism and the Occult Sciences in Victorian Literature and Society. London: Macmillan, 1992. Belloc, Hilaire. “Short and Sweet.” Guardian (October 30, 2004). Available online. URL: uk/fromthearchives/story/0,,1339120.html. Accessed July 10, 2006. Bowen, Elizabeth. “The Short Story in England.” Britain ToDay, May 1949, pp. 12–16. Boyd, William. “Brief Encounters.” Guardian (October 2, 2004). Available online. URL: uk/departments/generalfiction/stony/0,,1317931,00. html. Accessed July 10, 2006. Bradbury, Malcolm. Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories. London: Penguin, 1988. Brown, Tony. “The Ex-centric Voice: The English Language Short Story in Wales,” North American Journal of Welsh Studies 1, no. 1 (2001). Available online. URL: http://˜ellisis/VolOne.html. Burgan, Mary. “The ‘Feminine’ Short Story in America.” In American Women Short Story Writers, edited by Julie Brown, 267–280. New York: Garland, 1995. Byatt, A. S. Oxford Book of English Short Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Coldstream, John. Introduction. In The Daily Telegraph Book of Contemporary Short Stories. London: Headline, 1995. Dallat, C. L. “New Voices Abroad,” Guardian (May 28, 2005). Available online. URL: uk/reviews/0,,1492925,20.html. Accessed July 10, 2006. Duguid, Lindsay. “Before It Becomes Literature: How Reviewers Have Dealt with the English Novel.” In On Modern British Fiction, edited by Zachary Leader, 294. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.


Dutton, J. A. P. “Why Magazines Die.” Guardian, 25 June 2005, p. 8. Ezard, John. “Orange Prize for First Time Writers Boosts Short Stories.” Guardian, 25 April 2005, p. 8. Feddersen, R. C. “A Glance at the History of the Short Story in English.” In A Reader’s Companion to the Short Story in English, edited by Erin Fallon et al., xxii. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001. Fitzgerald, Percy. Memories of Charles Dickens with an Account of Household Words and All the Year Round. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1913. Glen, Duncan. The Bright Writer’s Guides to Scottish Culture 2. Edinburgh: Arkos, 1995. Goldie, David. A Critical Difference: T. S. Eliot and John Middleton Murray in English Literary Criticism 1919–28. Oxford: Clarendon, 1998. Gordon, Giles, and David Hughes. The Best of Best Short Stories 1986–1995. London: Minerva, 1995. Hanson, Clare. Re-reading the Short Story. London: Macmillan, 1989. Harris, Wendell. “Vision and Form: The English Novel and the Emergence of the Short Story,” Victorian Newsletter 47 (1975), 11–16. Hensher, Philip. “Fables and Foibles.” Observer (April 9, 2000). Available online. URL: uk/reviews/generalfiction/0,,157234,00.html. Accessed July 10, 2006. Hill, Susan. Contemporary Women’s Short Stories. An Anthology. London: Penguin, 1995. Lane, Harriet. “Just Stick to the Brief,” Observer, 5 September 2004, pp. 20–23. Lee, A. Robert. The 19th Century American Short Story. Totowa: Barnes and Noble, 1985. Litz, A. Walton. Major American Short Stories. New York: Oxford University Press, 1908. Levy, Andrew. The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Linklater, Alexander. “Reclaiming the Story,” Prospect Magazine 114 (September 2005). Available online. URL: php?id=7025. Accessed July 10, 2006. Luckhurst, Roger. Science Fiction. Cambridge: Polity, 2005. MacDonald, Peter D. British Culture and Publishing Practice 1880–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Marvor, Alex. “Why We Need More Soho Dandies.” Observer (December 5, 2004). Available online. URL: http://books.,, 1360523,00.html. Accessed July 10, 2006. May, Charles. The Short Story. New York: Twayne, 1995. McCarthy, Thomas. “The Art of the Short Story.” Guardian, 27 August 2005, p. 27. McIlvanney, Liam. “The Politics of Narrative in the Post-war Scottish Novel.” In On Modern British Fiction, edited by Zachary Leader, 181–208. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Morrison, Jago. Contemporary Fiction. London: Routledge, 2003. Mullan, John. “Brief Lives.” Guardian (June 26, 2004). Available online. URL: story/0,,1447617,00.html. Accessed July 10, 2006. O’Brien, Edward. The Best Short Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 1934. O’Connor, Frank. The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story. New York: World, 1963. Perry, Bliss. “The Short Story.” Atlantic Monthly 90 (1902), pp. 245–55. Pykett, Lyn. The Sensation Novel. Plymouth, England: Northcote, 1994. Rennison, Nick. Fifty Contemporary British Novelists. London: Routledge, 2002. Richardson, Angelique, ed. Women Who Did: Stories by Men and Women 1890–1914. London: Penguin, 2002. Shaw, Valerie. The Short Story: A Critical Introduction. London: Longman, 1983. Showalter, Elaine. “Ladlit.” In On Modern British Fiction, edited by Zachary Leader, 60–76. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. ———. Sexual Anarchy. London: Bloomsbury 1992. ———. “Smoking Room.” Times Literary Supplement, 16 June 1995, p. 12. Tate, Trudi. Women, Men and the Great War. An Anthology of Stories. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995. Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and the Short Story. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. Vanetta, Dennis, ed. The English Short Story 1880–1945. New York: Twayne, 1985. Ward, Alfred C. Aspects of the Modern Short Story: English and American. London: University of London Press, 1924. Wyatt, Woodrow. Foreword. English Story, fourth series, edited by Woodrow Wyatt and Susan Wyatt, 6. London: Collins, 1943.


AD consequently, Welsh undermines these subgenres through his central antihero. Experimentation with form in this collection is most evident in a section of “The Acid House” when Welsh escapes from realism by deftly combining Coco’s past and present lives. His past is signified with boxes of dialogue spoken by his teachers and father, and these are fitted in across the page interspersed with the repeated word “light.” This playing with form and use of postmodern techniques reflects the effects of LSD on Coco and adds pathos to his characterization. It emerges that the violence he has meted out he learned as a child from the adults around him. Welsh’s writing returns to the excesses of masculinity in all of his work and manages to value and parody masculinity simultaneously. On the whole, specific masculine, working-class values are repeatedly ridiculed here, yet these values are also portrayed with a certain amount of sympathy. The scorn Coco feels for his new middle-class parents is shared by the reader as Welsh attacks the subterfuge of what it is to be a new man in the 1990s. The stories in The Acid House are often dependent on Scotland and the stereotype of a Scotsman as a reference point for the various narratives, but this is not left unquestioned. In a sequence that is evocative of Trainspotting, Euan, the narrator of “Eurotrash,” says, “The Scots oppress themselves by their obsession with the English which breeds the negatives of hatred, fear, servility, contempt and dependency” (17). This story is

ACID HOUSE, THE IRVINE WELSH (1994) Irvine Welsh’s The Acid House (1994) is a collection of 21 short stories and a novella. Many of these stories bear the hallmark of Welsh’s novels in that they often take place in Scotland and have drugs, sex, and random violence as themes. Many of his characters also speak with a strong Scottish dialect, forcing the reader to engage with a culture and style that differs from Standard English. Robert A. Morace, in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting (2001), suggests correctly that Welsh’s use of language in Trainspotting (1993), and by extension in later works, is more specific and challenging than is immediately apparent: “Welsh’s linguistic assertion of Scottish identity is in fact an assertion more particularly of a Scottish sub-cultural identity,” specifically, working-class youth culture, whose language is not that of “cultured Edinburgh” (27–28). The cultural identities of the characters and the language they use are intertwined. The dark humor that infiltrates Welsh’s novels can also be found in this collection. The title story, “The Acid House,” focuses on Coco Bryce, a self-proclaimed football hooligan. The acid of the title refers to the LSD that Coco takes before a lifechanging experience. With a flash of lightning he inhabits the body of a newborn baby, and the souls of Coco and the baby are swapped. This use of fantasy and science fiction is ironic: Coco, in the baby’s body, continues to swear foully, and the body of the oncepowerful Coco has now been taken over by the baby;



set in Amsterdam, implying that this distance gives the narrator the chance to reflect objectively on the politics of his victim status. The role played by the Scots in their own colonization is a theme that recurs elsewhere in Welsh’s work, notably in Trainspotting. Welsh also moves away from Scotland in stories such as “The Last Resort on the Adriatic,” in which the narrator Jim commits suicide in a memorial to his dead wife. In “Where the Debris Meets the Sea” Santa Monica is the setting, but there is a return of sorts to Scotland as Welsh satirizes celebrity culture and gives Kim Basinger and Madonna improbably strong Scottish accents. Their manufactured importance is ridiculed as they sit lusting after unknown noncelebrities who live on schemes (housing projects) in the working-class district of Leith, and finally they realize they can only dream of going there for a holiday. This collection is also exuberant in its focus on the so-called underclasses. In “Granny’s Old Junk,” for example, both the grandson and Granny are heroin addicts. Drug use is a recurring area of interest in Welsh’s work, and his refusal to moralize about the dangers for the chemical generation means that he avoids preaching. This may be read as irresponsibility or, conversely, as a refusal to simplify a problem endemic in contemporary British life. Welsh is an adult writer, and he allows the reader to judge his characters from a rarely seen perspective. These stories offer a glimpse of another culture, and they challenge the metropolitan English middle-class sensibility. The fiction of a romantic Scotland (as a satellite of England) is reversed. Paul McGuigan directed a film in 1998 titled The Acid House, based on three of these short stories: “The Granton Star Cause,” “The Soft Touch,” and “The Acid House.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Morace, Robert A. Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. New York: Continuum, 2001. Irvine Welsh: The Unofficial Site. Available online. URL: Accessed January 24, 2006. The Official Irvine Welsh Site. Formerly available online. URL: Accessed July 1, 2004. Welsh, Irvine. The Acid House. London: Cape, 1994. Julie Ellam

“ADVENTURE OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON, THE” ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1904) This story first appeared in the STRAND MAGAZINE in the set of stories called The Return of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’s Sherlock Holmes stories and focuses on the power of the master blackmailer Charles Augustus Milverton. Since Milverton’s victims are afraid of the public revelations police involvement will bring, they turn to Holmes instead. Milverton threatens to publish compromising letters from Lady Eva Blackwell to a man in whom she was once interested. Holmes agrees to help her by trying to purchase the letters from Milverton, but Milverton’s price is too high. To find a way to steal the letters from Milverton’s home, Holmes goes undercover as a plumber. Watson accompanies him, but the two of them are surprised when Milverton returns. A woman then arrives and accuses Milverton of having caused her husband’s death by sending him letters of hers. She then shoots the blackmailer dead and leaves the house. Holmes takes the opportunity to burn all the incriminating documents. He and Watson agree that they will not do anything to help the authorities find Milverton’s killer, even though they know her identity. This is a classic example of Holmes intervening to assist a woman in trouble because a corrupt man threatens her. Holmes’s obvious disgust at Milverton— he calls him “the worst man in London” (791)—fuels his desire to thwart the master blackmailer. On the one hand, Holmes is helping a potential victim of a criminal; on the other hand, he assists a woman in keeping a secret from her fiancé. Holmes thwarts the potential power of public opinion and social scandal as he takes the side of Lady Eva and her secret. Her letters are described as merely imprudent, which highlights the injustice Victorian society would visit on a woman and her reputation for even a small infraction. The story, with its tension between private errors and vices and public exposure, is also typical of the way Holmes often works. He plays the role of judge and jury, and he is willing to break the law to bring a morally just conclusion to a case. In other stories he impersonates a clergyman (“A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA”), causes a person’s death (“The ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND”), and


decides to let a thief go without punishment (“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conan Doyle, Arthur. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories. Vol. 1. New York: Bantam Books, 1986. Linsenmeyer, John. “Why Charles Augustus Milverton Should Be Canonized and Not Cannon-Balled,” Baker Street Journal: An Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana 50, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 36–40. Susan Bernardo

“ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND, THE” ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1892) This locked-room mystery was published in February 1892 in the STRAND MAGAZINE, a popular illustrated periodical aimed at a middle-class family audience. By the time contemporaries encountered “The Speckled Band,” Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson were familiar from two short novels and a handful of stories. Although audiences have been captivated by the Holmes stories, Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, a physician and historical novelist who wrote popular fiction to make money, felt that the mysteries’ quality fell short of his other, less popular novels. Conan Doyle did, however, appreciate “The Speckled Band” enough to rewrite it for the stage in 1910. “The Speckled Band” is of interest for a number of reasons, including its gothic elements, potentially sexual imagery, colonial connections, and incidental discussion of class and profession. The gothic reveals itself through exaggeratedly virtuous and demonic character types and through a decayed, half-empty house. These elements emphasize the supernatural appearance of the story’s events, making Holmes’s rational solution to the crime more surprising in comparison. The gothic elements also introduce the potential of submerged incestuous desire between the powerful but insane stepfather and his innocent, victimized stepdaughters. This conclusion, based on the gothic elements, is supported by the phallic image of the snake that crawls nightly into the victims’ room through a small air shaft. “The Speckled Band” creates tension by portraying potentially inappropriate sexuality, but it places the emphasis of Dr. Roylott’s relationship with his stepdaughters on financial rather than physical victimiza-

tion. This emphasis has inspired interpretations that concentrate on the story’s imperial allusions and challenge the reading of the snake as a symbol of “destructive male sexuality” (Jann 121). Such interpretations provide roots for different readings of the snake and the other Indian elements that find a more positive or powerful view of both colonized cultures and the feminine in the story. An impoverished aristocrat who survives first by taking up a profession (medicine) in the colonies and then by marrying a woman with an independent income, Dr. Roylott complicates discussions of class in the story. He is problematic enough to be killed, an unusual conclusion for a Holmes mystery. A gentleman and a professional, an Englishman and a former resident of India, a strong energetic man and a leisured landowner, Roylott crosses boundaries that make his character dangerous for individuals and for society. Pushed to crime to preserve his social and economic status, he uses professional and imperial knowledge to carry out his task. Holmes concludes, “When a doctor does go wrong, he is the first of criminals. He has nerve and he has knowledge.” The interpretation of Roylott and the viper becomes central to supporting any argument about the story.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conan Doyle, Arthur. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Edited by Leslie S. Klinger. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004. Jann, Rosemary. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Detecting Social Order. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995. Wynne, Catherine. The Colonial Conan Doyle: British Imperialism, Irish Nationalism, and the Gothic. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. Andrea Cabus

ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM TOBY LITT (1996) Adventures in Capitalism was TOBY LITT’s debut collection and, according to Malcolm Bradbury, foretold a novelist whose “fresh contemporary style . . . will sing in the ears of a generation” (3). The collection is divided into two sections, “Early Capitalism” and “Late Capitalism,” and each story is set in the present. Litt wages brutal assaults on the MTV generation and explores the surreal, postmodern existences lurking beneath the veneer of perfection in consumer lifestyles.


“It Could Have Been Me and It Was,” first in the volume, is the story of Brian, a man who wins the lottery and then decides to believe the messages in every advertisement but refuses to believe any humans. This story introduces a prominent theme in Litt’s work, that of the body. At one point Brian claims that “the whole world competed for my body and cash” (6), emphasizing the cannibalistic and global nature of consumerism. Elsewhere in the collection, “The Sunflower” is a wonderful pastiche of the Kafkaesque tale of paranoia, featuring a magazine reader who turns into a sunflower. After spending the majority of his life as a recluse, he is unmasked and becomes the subject of exhaustive media attention in a tale reminiscent of that of the Elephant Man or a circus freak. The final story in the collection, “When I Met Michel Foucault,” is a haunting, vicious coup de grace in which the narrator avoids any deification of the 20th-century icon when he encounters him in an S&M club, marking, labeling, and scarring Foucault’s body with a heated poker. This meeting reinforces the relationships Litt has previously identified between the body and consumerism, pornography and power, fantasy and identity. Among all of these pithy epithets and dark comparisons, Litt still maintains a degree of critical awareness by cleverly mixing absurd humour with biting satire. He demonstrates an awareness of the conventions of narrative by breaking them and creates a perceptive celebration of material vacuity in contemporary culture, showing its potential interest as a subject for literature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bradbury, Malcolm. “Real Life,” Independent, 26 May 1996, p. 3. Litt, Toby. Adventures in Capitalism. London: Secker and Warburg, 1996. Martin Colebrook

ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1891– 1892) These 12 detective stories were first published as a series in the STRAND MAGAZINE, 1891–92, and then as a collection by George Newnes in 1892. After the novellas A STUDY IN SCARLET (1887) and The Sign of

Four (1890), Sir ARTHUR CANON DOYLE employed the shorter form for subsequent stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, not returning to the novel until The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902). The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes comprised the first 12 stories to be included in the Strand Magazine: “A S CANDAL IN B OHEMIA ,” “A Case of Identity,” “The Red-Headed League,” “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP,” “The Blue Carbuncle,” “The SPECKLED BAND,” “The Engineer’s Thumb,” “The Noble Bachelor,” “The Beryl Coronet,” and “The Copper Beeches.” The stories mark a departure from the embedded narration form of the longer stories and show modifications in the character of Holmes, from the decadent figure of the novellas to a more ascetic character (for example, as Ian Ousby points out, Holmes’s use of cocaine is greatly reduced). The short stories are, perhaps deliberately considering the intended family readership of the Strand Magazine, less sensational than the first novellas, which featured corpses in bloodied rooms and macabre deaths by exotic poisons. By contrast, the Adventures are mostly based in romantic and political intrigues, financial conspiracies, and ingeniously planned robberies; only three of the stories (“The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” “The Five Orange Pips,” and “The Speckled Band”) involve a murder investigation. The stories make use of tropes used extensively in late Victorian detective fiction and developed in the 20th century, most significantly the threat of the criminal foreigner and the return of a colonial past with criminal consequences (“The Engineer’s Thumb,” “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” “The Five Orange Pips”) and the instability of identity (“A Case of Identity,” “The Man with the Twisted Lip”). In other stories, the mystery lies in explaining an unusual set of circumstances, usually connected to a criminal plot; for instance, in “The Red-Headed League,” Holmes must find out why only a red-headed man should be employed by a mysterious organization to copy out pages from an encyclopedia. The short story form allowed Doyle to establish a structural technique that would become familiar to readers: Many of the stories open with Watson’s musings in Baker Street, followed by a display of Holmes’s powers of detection, then the


entrance of a client who relays a mysterious narrative leading to the central investigation, before Holmes solves the mystery and explains his reasoning at the conclusion. The repetition of this form may have contributed to Holmes’s popularity with readers of the Strand; it also allowed formalist critics to propose a structural “grammar” for the 56 Holmes short stories written by Doyle. Each story was accompanied in the Strand by as many as 10 illustrations by Sidney Paget, and the tendency of later editions to omit these presents certain methodological difficulties for those studying the stories, not only because it provides a different textual experience from that of the Strand, but also because of the close relationship between Doyle’s text and Paget’s visual representations. The images were largely responsible for the establishing the visual iconography associated with Holmes (the other major influence was the American actor William Gillette’s stage portrayal in the early 20th century), to such an extent that Doyle’s later descriptions of Holmes were consciously altered to better fit Paget’s depiction, which was itself modeled on Paget’s brother William.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. London: Newnes, 1892. Ousby, Ian. Bloodhounds of Heaven: The Detective in English Fiction from Godwin to Day 6. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976. Stashower, Daniel. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. London: Allen Lane, 2000. Christopher Pittard

AESTHETICISM Aestheticism was a 19th-century literary, artistic, and cultural movement influenced by the aesthetic philosophies of the German romantic school, by the art criticism of John Ruskin, and by French writers such as Théophile Gautier and Charles Baudelaire. Aspects of aestheticism can be found in the poetry and painting of the British PreRaphaelites (see PRE-RAPHAELITISM) from the 1850s on and in the work of Edgar Allan Poe in America. As a cultural movement, however, aestheticism reached its height in the 1870s and 1880s, before developing into the decadent aestheticism of the 1890s. Artists and

writers associated with aestheticism include James McNeill Whistler, Walter Pater, and OSCAR WILDE. Aestheticism advocates the principles of art for art’s sake: Art is an end in itself; art need not serve moral, didactic, or political ends; art should not be judged by nonaesthetic criteria. Stylistically, aestheticism is characterized by preciosity, archaisms, and sometimes obscurity. Aesthetes insisted that any subject matter could be made beautiful in art, and therefore some aesthetes treated the perverse, the abnormal, and the morbid in their work. Ideologically, aestheticism represented a revolt against the materialism of Victorian middle-class culture and the effects of industrialization and mass production. Aesthetes retreated into the world of art in an attempt to transcend what they regarded as the ugliness of middleclass Victorian life. At the same time, however, aesthetes sought to beautify their own surroundings, to experience life in the spirit of art. As such, aestheticism’s influence extended beyond literature and art into the realms of fashion, furniture design, the decorative arts, and architecture. Though aestheticism is most often discussed in relation to painting, poetry, and the decorative arts, its influence is also notable in the short fiction of the late Victorian period. On the one hand, aestheticism characterized a genre of short story with a sumptuous, almost poetic style. Often the plot is slight, the emphasis being on mood and character, the embodiment of intellectual insights in an imaginative form, and the representation of the artist figure or sensitive individual struggling to realize an ideal in an inhospitable environment. Notable examples of such stories appear in Walter Pater’s Imaginary Portraits (1887), Oscar Wilde’s The HAPPY PRINCE and Other Tales (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891), Arthur Symons’s Spiritual Adventures (1905), and ERNEST DOWSON’s Dilemmas (1895). On the other hand, aestheticism and the aesthete figured as important subject matter in much late 19th-century short fiction, often treated negatively. Some of HENRY JAMES’s short stories of the 1880s and 1890s, for example, including “The Author of Beltraffio” (1884), “The Lesson of the Master” (1888), and “The Middle Years” (1893), explore the personal costs of the aesthete’s extreme devotion to art.


Aestheticism has traditionally been associated with male artists and writers. Recent scholarship, however, has drawn attention to women’s participation in the movement and the ways in which they embraced, rejected, or sought to reconfigure aestheticism (see Schaffer and Psomiades). Women writers also drew attention to the problematic aspects of aestheticism in their short fiction, notably the male aesthete’s objectification of women, emotional distance, and narcissism. Examples of this treatment of aestheticism can be found in VERNON LEE’s “LADY TAL” (1892), Sarah Grand’s “The Undefinable: A Fantasia” (1894), ELLA D’ARCY’s “The PLEASURE PILGRIM” (1895), and Ada Leverson’s “A Suggestion” (1895).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Harris, Wendell V. British Short Fiction in the Nineteenth Century: A Literary and Bibliographic Guide, 72–81. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979. Reed, John. “From Aestheticism to Decadence: Evidence from the Short Story,” Victorians Institute Journal 11 (1982–83): 1–12. Schaffer, Talia, and Kathy Alexis Psomiades, eds. Women and British Aestheticism. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1999. Kirsten MacLeod


DARK WILKIE COLLINS (1856) A number of WILKIE COLLINS’s contributions to CHARLES DICKENS’s Household Words were reprinted in a short story collection titled After Dark (1856) published in two volumes by Smith Elder. The stories included “The Traveller’s Story of a TERRIBLY STRANGE BED,” “The Lawyer’s Story of a STOLEN LETTER,” “The French Governess’s Story of Sister Rose,” “The Nun’s Story of Gabriel’s Marriage,” and “The Professor’s Story of the Yellow Mask.” “The Lady of Glenwith Grange” was the only story that not been published previously. The stories are contained within a frame narrative titled “Leaves from Leah’s Diary.” Leah Kerby serves as amanuensis for her husband, an itinerant artist whose temporary blindness forces him to take a break from his painting. During William Kerby’s convalescence, Leah transcribes several mystery tales that her husband entertains her with “after dark.” These are not William’s own stories, however; they have been recounted to

him “by accident” by his various clients as they sit for their portraits. Leah plans to publish these stories in a collection titled After Dark and hopes that the sales of the book will make up for the lost income caused by her husband’s unemployment. Set during the 1789 French Revolution, “The French Governess’s Story of Sister Rose” is a tale about a young woman named Rose and her devoted brother Louis Trudaine. Rose marries the treacherous aristocrat Charles Danville, who betrays his brother-in-law when he reports Trudaine’s suspicious behavior to the revolutionary authorities. What Danville does not realize, however, is that the clandestine activities of Trudaine and Rose are part of an effort to help Danville’s royalist mother seek asylum outside of France. Though brother and sister are condemned to the guillotine, their lives are saved by a former servant who has since become a police agent. Three years after the Reign of Terror ends, Rose and Trudaine expose Danville before he can commit bigamy. His mother disowns him, and he is killed in a duel by the father of the woman he had intended to marry. “The Angler’s Story of The Lady of Glenwith Grange” is told by a gentleman farmer named Mr. Gathwaite who has employed Kerby to paint one of his bulls. One morning, when the bull refuses to be a cooperative “sitter,” Garthwaite and Kerby decide to go fishing. During the day’s angling, Garthwaite recounts the extraordinary story of the reclusive Miss Ida Welwyn, also known as the Lady of Glenwith Grange. Years earlier, Ida Welwyn had promised her dying mother that she would always take care of her infant sister, Rosamond. Through her sister’s devotion and attention, Rosamond matures to be an accomplished and beautiful lady who is highly regarded throughout society. After rejecting two marriage proposals, Rosamond falls in love with the dashing Baron Franval, whom she meets in Paris. Ida though she secretly dislikes and distrusts the Baron, allows him to marry her beloved sister on the condition that she and Rosamond are never to live apart. Ida’s “vague sense of terror” is finally confirmed with the appearance of a French police agent who exposes the Baron as an imposter. The man Rosamond has married is, in fact, an escaped convict who bears an uncanny likeness to


the real Baron Franval. The criminal is killed while attempting to escape, and Rosamond dies of shock. Ida Welwyn returns to Glenwith Grange to spend her remaining years caring for Rosamond’s child and the neighboring “peasant population.” “The Professor’s Story of the Yellow Mask” is recounted to Kerby by an eccentric Italian political exile, Professor Tizzi, who has spent his life researching “the principle of life.” As he sits for his portrait, Professor Tizzi tells Kerby the story behind a strange decorative object that he keeps in his study: a stuffed poodle named Scaramuccia that once belonged to a young woman named Nanina. The story begins with Father Rocco, the brother of the master-sculptor Luca Lomi, who devises a plan for Luca’s daughter, Maddalena, to marry Count Fabio d’Asocoli, who is studying under Luca. Father Rocco believes that the Count’s inheritance, which supposedly originates from stolen Church money, can be rightfully restored if Maddalena marries Fabio. The only obstacle to this plan, however, is Nanina, a poor young model and the true love of Fabio, whom Father Rocco persuades to leave Pisa. Though Fabio subsequently marries Maddalena, she tragically dies in childbirth the following year. To prevent Fabio from remarrying, Father Rocco employs a woman, who also once had designs on Fabio’s wealth, to impersonate Maddalena at a masked ball. Wearing a yellow mask over a cast of Maddalena’s face, the woman reveals herself to Fabio as his dead wife and almost shocks him to death. Nanina, who has returned to Pisa, nurses Fabio back to health while also proving over time that he was tricked by Father Rocco. After Dark represents one of Collins’s earliest experiments with a multiple narrators, a polyphony of voices that leaves the reader to discern whether narrative control is ultimately exercised by a particular voice (the male artist, the female amanuensis, the lawyer, the governess, the farmer, the nun, the political exile) and, if so, what the implications of that dominant voice are. While the framing narrative provides a formal link for the stories, there are certain recurring motifs and thematic impulses that can be traced throughout the collection, such as disguise and mistaken identity, secrets and lies, crime and detection, dreams and the super-

natural, and death and resurrection (also referred to as “the dead alive”).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Collins, Wilkie. Complete Short Fiction. London: Constable, 1998. Maria Bachman

ALL HAIL THE NEW PURITANS NICHOLAS BLINCOE AND MATT THORNE (EDITORS) (2000) According to their introduction, the editors of this collection of 15 short stories sought to bring together a group of “like-minded writers and set them a challenge.” These contributors are Matthew Branton, Candida Clark, Anna Davis, Geoff Dyer, Bo Fowler, Alex Garland, Daren King, Simon Lewis, TOBY LITT, Rebecca Ray, Ben Richards, Scarlett Thomas, Tony White, and the two editors. The challenge comes in the form of a 10-point “pledge” or manifesto, devised by the editors and outlined in their introduction. The contributors— entirely made up of published, British writers, nearly all of them, at the time, in their late 20s or 30s and living in the southeast of England—were chosen by the editors beforehand, and each story was written specifically for the anthology. They were all completed between November 1999 and April 2000, thereby creating a focused cross section of a generational movement at a specific time. The only criterion for inclusion was that the candidate “would be responsive to the New Puritan challenge” and follow the manifesto; in the editors’ view this form of “pre-editing” was sufficient, and the resulting stories, predictably, are somewhat uneven and resemble each other only in sharing a rather dark tone (with two exceptions) and having been written under the same restrictions. According to Blincoe and Thorne, the 10-point pledge was created both as a challenge to the contributors and as a reflection of what was already “so original and challenging” about recent fiction (ii). To a certain extent, the pledge was meant to advance a “new wave” in fiction—stressing simplicity, purity, clarity, and integrity—and simultaneously aiming “to blow the dinosaurs out of the water”(vii)—a reference presumably to the previous generation of British writers not considered to adhere to these qualities. They


specifically mention the work of Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie. “The New Puritan Manifesto” comprises the following 10 rules: 1. Primarily storytellers, we are dedicated to the narrative form. 2. We are prose writers and recognise that prose is the dominant form of expression. For this reason we shun poetry and poetic licence in all its forms. 3. While acknowledging the value of genre fiction, whether classical or modern, we will always move towards new openings, rupturing existing genre expectations. 4. We believe in textual simplicity and vow to avoid all devices of voice: rhetoric, authorial asides. 5. In the name of clarity, we recognise the importance of temporal linearity and eschew flashbacks, dual temporal narratives and foreshadowing. 6. We believe in grammatical purity and avoid any elaborate punctuation. 7. We recognise that published works are also historical documents. As fragments of our time, all our texts are dated and set in the present day. 8. As faithful representations of the present, our texts will avoid all improbable or unknowable speculation about the past or the future. 9. We are moralists, so all texts feature a recognisable ethical reality. 10. Nevertheless, our aim is integrity of expression, above and beyond any commitment to form. (vii) While the title of the collection is taken from a song by the British rock group The Fall, the concept itself probably owes more to film than it does to music. The Dogme 95 movement, for instance, is an obvious inspiration for the New Puritans, in that the filmmakers’ manifesto bans the use of light or sound sources not naturally appearing in the scene and essentially intends to proclaim a new and purer alternative to Hollywood studio productions. Having drawn the connection, though, it must be noted that the New Puritans were faced with no true equivalent to the highly powerful Hollywood system to define themselves against, and the manifesto struggles to come up with a full 10 com-

mands. Some of the rules, the editors later admitted, were included simply to challenge their contributors (e.g., point 5) and not as part of the New Puritan aesthetic. Such restrictions, perhaps more than anything else, led some of the early reviewers to label the collection a mere publicity stunt. This assessment is not entirely fair. It is still very early to gauge accurately the influence of the anthology, but it has been a success in terms of publicity and sales. Croatian, German, and French editions all appeared within the first few years, and groups allying themselves to the New Puritans include the Crack group in Mexico and the FAK in Croatia. There is something refreshing in the New Puritan desire to find middle ground between simple genre fiction on the one hand and playful postmodernist stylization or pure artiness on the other hand. The stories share a rewarding context of contemporary moral questioning within a focused sense of faithfully rendered time and place, and they seem to define successfully the New Puritan aesthetic as well as any manifesto, whether the anthology is considered a mere stunt, a needless attempt at revolution, or a breakthrough in early 21st-century literature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Blincoe, Nicholas, and Matt Thorne, eds. All Hail the New Puritans. London: Fourth Estate, 2000. Rod Rosenquist

AMIS, KINGSLEY (1922–1995) Born in London, Amis served in the British Army, Royal Signal Corps, from 1942 to 1946; attended Oxford University; and from 1949 to 1961 was a lecturer in English at the University College of Swansea in Wales. With novels such as Lucky Jim (1954), a satire of university life; That Uncertain Feeling (1955), about the professional and sexual conundrums faced by a Welsh librarian; I Like It Here (1958), about the adventures abroad of a xenophobic philistine; and Take a Girl like You (1960), about the cultural strains on the relationship between a young woman from the industrial north and a more cosmopolitan young man from London, he gained himself a reputation as one of the so-called angry young men of the immediate postwar period.


Known primarily for his novels, Amis also wrote short stories throughout his career, but he generally regarded them as either warm-ups or false starts to novels. My Enemy’s Enemy (1962) includes three stories about class tensions among British soldiers during the last months of World War II: “Court of inquiry,” “I Spy Strangers,” and the title story. The collection also includes two stories concerning the English inability to understand the Welsh: “Interesting Things” and “Moral Fibre.” Collected Short Stories (1980) includes all of these stories except the last, as well as previously uncollected stories that exploit the conventions of the espionage, mystery/detective, and science-fiction genres. Two of the best previously unpublished stories are “Dear Illusion,” concerning a poet who knows that his acclaimed work is inferior but continues to be praised even for a new collection that he has purposely made second-rate, and “Who or What Was It?” in which Amis provides an exercise in postmodern literary schizophrenia that literally climaxes with his watching his fictive alter ego make love to his wife.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Amis, Kingsley. My Enemy’s Enemy. London: Gollancz, 1962. New York: Harcourt, 1963. ———. Collected Short Stories. London: Hutchinson, 1980. Bell, Robert H., ed. Critical Essays on Kingsley Amis. New York: G. K. Hall, 1998. Gardner, Philip. Kingsley Amis. Twayne’s English Authors Series, no. 319. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Salwak, Dale, ed. Kingsley Amis in Life and Letters. New York: St. Martin’s, 1991. Martin Kich

AMIS, MARTIN (1949– ) Born in Oxford on August 25, 1949, Martin Amis is the son of KINGSLEY AMIS. Unlike his father, who wrote safely within the aesthetic conventions of realism, Martin uses a playful voice that calls attention to the narrative as a work of fiction. Emerging from his father’s shadow, Martin earned a reputation as the enfant terrible of the London literary scene and was even called “the rock star of English literature” by the BBC. As Amis would be the first to say, he is now too old to remain the literary scene’s bad boy. Amis grew up in England, America, and Spain before graduating from Oxford University in

1971. Afterward, he worked as a book reviewer for the Observer, as an editorial assistant for the Times Literary Supplement, and again as a book reviewer for the New Statesman. Amis has been a prolific essayist throughout his career. The collections The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America (1986) and Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions (1993) include essays on the two writers most admired by Amis: Vladimir Nabokov for his verbal games and Saul Bellow for colloquial speech taken from the streets of America. In 1973, Amis published his first novel, The Rachel Papers, about 19-year-old Charles Highway’s seduction of a young woman. What might be called black romantic comedy, the novel is ultimately more interested in wordplay than in foreplay. Money: A Suicide Note (1984) describes the addiction to the 1980s-style instant gratification experienced by narrator John Self, who moves between London and New York trying to arrange a film deal. A much-talked-about scene takes place when Martin Amis appears in his own novel as a character hired to work on Self’s screenplay. A favorite of rock bands Blur and Elastica, London Fields (1989) describes Keith Talent’s dart matches in a west London pub while femme fatale Nicola Six plots her own murder amid much millennial angst. Amis moves beyond adolescent humor in Time’s Arrow (1991), a novel written in reverse sequence about the Holocaust. The narrative moves backward chronologically from a typical American suburb as seen by Tod Friendly (aka Odilo Unverdorben) toward the concentration camp Auschwitz. The themed short story collection Einstein’s Monsters (1987) warns of nuclear catastrophe. Framed by “Thinkability,” the introductory essay on nuclear weapons, many of the stories link personal tragedy to 20thcentury events. “Bujak and the Strong Force, or, God’s Dice” presents characters deeply affected by World War II—namely the bombing of Nagasaki, the Polish occupation, and Auschwitz—in describing Bujak’s response to a violent attack on his family. “Insight at Flame Lake” is told through two sets of diary entries, one by a schizophrenic and the other by a nuclear scientist. Characters avoid all excitement only to achieve banal lives in the satiric “The Time Disease.” The fable “The Little Puppy That Could” describes a postapocalyptic landscape in


which nuclear holocaust survivors struggle to appease a mutated animal. “The IMMORTALS” views an atomic attack from the perspective of an undying being who has walked the Earth since its creation. Critics expressed dissatisfaction with the simplistic politics at odds with the sophisticated writing in the collection. The British tabloids printed stories about Amis with great frequency during the mid-1990s. First, rumors that Amis had broken with longtime literary agent Pat Kavanagh, wife of Amis’s friend JULIAN BARNES, in favor of the American agent Andrew Wylie increased scrutiny into the large advance Amis had demanded for his next novel. Stories soon followed about the separation from his wife, an illegitimate daughter, a cousin’s murder, and, farcically, his expensive dental work. As Amis pointed out, his novel The Information (1995) focuses on the main character’s midlife crisis. The events that had transformed Amis from literary to media celebrity came to an end with the death of his father in October 1995. Many of these events are eloquently described in Experience: A Memoir, published in 2000. Heavy Water and Other Stories (1999) brought together pieces published between 1976 and 1997, many of them in the New Yorker magazine. Several stories prolong a single joke, as does “Career Move,” which reverses the fortunes of a poet and a screenplay writer, and “STRAIGHT FICTION,” which imagines a world in which heterosexuals are the minority. “What Happened to Me on My Holiday” is told in the dialect of an American adolescent whose resistance (“resizdanze”) to clear speech reflects a struggle to understand death. “The Coincidence of the Arts” examines the effects of race and class through the silent, and indirectly violent, affair between a British painter in New York and an AfricanAmerican woman who unexpectedly reveals her cockney accent at the story’s end. “State of England,” one of the best stories of the collection, embodies changes to the nation through the figure of Big Mal, a bouncer attending his son’s Sports Day after having left the family for another woman. The story is framed around the fatherson race, which Mal has been running metaphorically for years as he struggles to find a stable place for the white working-class male within multicultural, supposedly classless England. Another well-known story from the collection is “LET ME COUNT THE TIMES.” While the

early stories may feel like writing exercises, the later stories express Amis’s characteristic themes of sexual intrigue, racial anxiety, and grotesque bodily attention. Reviewers have pointed out that Amis is the most American of the British authors writing today. Amis is admired primarily for his vivid style, which combines amusing observation and scathing satire. He is at his best when writing about the grotesque, or physical shortcomings that embody moral shortcomings, and much of his humor arises from the nastiness for which he earned his reputation as an iconoclast. Amis has a morbid fascination with the embarrassments of the body; for example, few writers have mined sexual impotence with such fertility. This attention to bodily decay corresponds with larger themes of impending apocalypse—nuclear, planetary, or even personal. He returns repeatedly, some would say excessively, to the intertwined subjects of pornography, perversion, violence, drugs, and money. While these themes reflect his weaknesses for tedious plots, caricature, and puerility (yet another story about masturbation?), what redeems Amis’s fiction is an ever-vibrant prose encompassing street slang as well as crafted metaphors. We find ourselves mesmerized by his grotesque characters even— or especially—at their most repugnant.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Amis, Martin. Dead Babies. London: Jonathan Cape, 1975. ———. Einstein’s Monsters. London: Jonathan Cape, 1987. ———. Heavy Water and Other Stories: Jonathan Cape, 1998. ———. Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions. London: Jonathan Cape, 1993. Chaundy, Beb. “The Martin Amis Experience.” Available online. URL: Accessed July 2, 2006. Dern, John A. Martians, Monsters, and Madonna: Fiction and Form in the World of Martin Amis. New York: Peter Lang, 1999. Diedrick, James. Understanding Martin Amis. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995. Morrison, Susan. “The Wit and the Fury of Martin Amis,” Rolling Stone, 17 May 1990, pp. 95–102. Wilson, Jonathan. “A Very English Story,” New Yorker, 6 March 1995, pp. 96–106. Matt Rubery



A supernatural tale first published in Murray’s Magazine and then included in VERNON LEE’s collection Hauntings in 1890. It is one of the best-known examples of the Victorian ghost story and has been reprinted in many anthologies. The story spans the period of August to December 1885 and is written as a series of diary entries by Spiridion Trepka, a young Polish scholar employed by a German university, who has recently arrived in the fictional Italian town of Urbania to write a work of history. While working in the town archives, he becomes fascinated by the story of a mysterious 16th-century woman named Medea di Carpi, whose many suitors met with violent ends and who was murdered on the orders of her brother-in-law, Duke Robert. Spiridion becomes increasingly obsessed with Medea and neglects his scholarly work to seek out traces of her life. Spiridion is particularly fascinated by a portrait miniature he uncovers, in which Medea wears a necklace inscribed with the motto “Amour Dure—Dure Amour” (love endures—hard love). After several months, Spiridion receives a letter in Medea’s handwriting asking him to meet her at a local church. He suspects a hoax, but he goes anyway and sees a woman in black who resembles Medea. Convinced he has finally come into the presence of the past, Spiridion returns to the church the next day only to find it shuttered and full of cobwebs. Spiridion then receives another letter from Medea, asking him to destroy a silver effigy that Duke Robert had placed inside a statue in order to prevent his soul from encountering Medea’s in the afterlife. Now maniacally devoted to Medea, Spiridion destroys the statue and the effigy on Christmas Eve. While writing his final diary entry, he hears a step on the staircase. The last words he writes are “AMOUR DURE—DURE AMOUR!” (122). The story concludes with an anonymous note stating that a local newspaper had reported the mutilation of the statue and the discovery of Spiridion Trepka dead of a stab wound. “Amour Dure” draws upon a wide range of literary and artistic sources. Medea is named after a woman from Greek mythology who killed her own children to punish her unfaithful husband. Lee’s tale is most

directly influenced by romantic writers such as E. T. A. Hoffmann and Théophile Gautier, whose supernatural stories often concerned uncanny hauntings from the past. Lee also draws upon the fascination of many Victorian writers, such as Robert Browning and Walter Pater, with Renaissance Italy. Lee’s description of Medea’s portraits, finally, alludes to a 16th-century portrait of a woman named Lucrezia Panciatichi by the Italian painter Agnelo Bronzino. Although it takes the form of a ghost story, “Amour Dure” is also about history. By writing in the voice of an obsessed male scholar, Lee underscores the problematic desires that motivate our relationship to the past. Spiridion begins as a scholarly student of history but ends up unable to distinguish between objective facts and subjective desires. Lee in this way suggests that the Victorian fascination with the past is often a disguised indulgence in personal fantasy. Lee also comments on the role of women in history. Medea seems to be a femme fatale (fatal woman), but over the course of the story Lee suggests that she is ruthless as a result of circumstances, not nature. Passed from one man to another, Medea can gain freedom only by using her beauty to control those in power. Medea’s ghostly seduction of Spiridion is one more attempt to turn the tables on the men who seek to define and control her.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Colby, Vineta. Vernon Lee: A Literary Biography. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003. Lee, Vernon. “Amour Dure.” Available online. URL: http:// Accessed July 15, 2005. Stableford, Brian. “Haunted by the Pagan Past: An Introduction to Vernon Lee.” Infinity Plus Non-fiction. Available online. URL: lee.htm. Accessed May 5, 2006. Zorn, Christina. Vernon Lee: Aesthetics, History, and the Victorian Female Intellectual. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003. Matthew Potolsky



First published in the Illustrated London News in 1901, “Amy Foster” was republished in Typhoon, and Other Tales in 1903. According to biographer Frederic Karl,


JOSEPH CONRAD’s idea for the subject of the story came from his friend and sometime collaborator Ford Madox Ford, who mentioned it in his Cinque Ports (514). The story of a misunderstood Polish castaway powerfully captures English xenophobic fears at the turn of the century. “Amy Foster” uses a frame narrative like the one Conrad famously used in HEART OF DARKNESS; an unnamed narrator retells the story he heard from his friend Dr. Kennedy, a country doctor with a “penetrating” mind who takes an interest in the personalities of the villagers who are his patients. Kennedy tells of Amy Foster, a stoic and reserved young woman whose “heart was of the kindest” and who takes pity on a wandering tramp whose ravings terrify the other people he encounters. As it turns out, Yanko is not a tramp but a Polish castaway who survived the wreck of a ship that was taking him from his home in Austria to America, where he hopes to find work and start a new life. The frightened and bewildered Yanko is pelted with stones by children and locked in a barn by a farmer who fears him. Taken in by a neighbor, Yanko gradually proves himself by his hard work and heroism and learns English. A handsome man, he courts and marries Amy Foster, who has fallen in love with him. Once she has his child, however, she comes to fear Yanko’s alien ways, especially the prayers and songs he croons in Polish, longing for his son to share his language and assuage his loneliness. Her passion for him becomes “fear resembling the unaccountable terror of a brute.” He dies in a fever, abandoned by his terrified wife. In a last bit of irony, the reader is told that their boy is called Johnny, meaning Little John, the translation of Yanko’s name. Conrad’s story, told in a realist style, is deeply infused with irony and symbolism. The bay looms behind the quiet life of the village in the first lines of the story, representing the presence of the rest of the world that the townspeople cannot quite keep out. Conrad, heavily influenced by the adventure tale, uses the expected outlines of the story of a castaway washed up in a new land to tell a much darker, ironic story. Yanko’s kindness and intelligence cannot overcome the prejudices of the townspeople against his foreignness; he comes to represent essential human loneliness,

the loss of idealism, and turn-of-the-century fears of solipsism, all common themes in Conrad’s works. Echoing the central question of Conrad’s The Nigger of the “Narcissus” (1897), Amy fears that Yanko is “shamming” illness, highlighting the story’s themes of miscommunication and fears of an inauthentic self. The description of the now “passive” and “inert” Amy, who becomes brutishly terrified of her kind husband, also references contemporary discourse on atavism and degeneracy, which Conrad further explores in his 1906 novel The Secret Agent. One of the story’s deepest ironies is that it is the English who are cruel and unChristian, not the foreign man they fear. Conrad’s own history as a Polish immigrant to this area of England clearly influenced “Amy Foster,” which highlights failures of communication between people of different ethnicities and between men and women, as well as concerns about the author’s ability to communicate with his audience.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conrad, Joseph. Typhoon and Other Tales. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Karl, Frederick R. Joseph Conrad: The Three Lives. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979. Knowles, Owen, and Gene M. Moore. Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Ellen Burton Harrington

ANGELS AND INSECTS A. S. BYATT (1992) Published in 1992, Angels and Insects continues A. S. BYATT’s interest in the Victorian era, which was established with her Booker Prize–winning novel Possession: A Romance (1990). The two novellas published as Angels and Insects are “MORPHO EUGENIA” and “The Conjugal Angel,” the latter concerned with angels and the former with insects. Set in the mid-19th century, “Morpho Eugenia” recounts the experiences of the naturalist William Adamson during his time at Bredely Hall, where he is staying with his aristocratic patron, the Reverend Harald Alabaster. Adamson marries one of Alabaster’s daughters, Eugenia, but after discovering her incestuous relationship with her brother Edgar he leaves for the Amazon once again. He is joined on this expedition by Matty Crompton, with whom he had


been compiling a natural history book for children while at Bredely Hall. In this novella, Byatt addresses the mid-19th-century conflict between science and religion that arose in response to Darwin’s theory of natural selection. “The Conjugal Angel” similarly treats the complex relationship between science and religion by considering the position of spiritualism in the 1870s. The protagonists of this novella, Lilias Papagay and Sophy Sheekhy, are amateur mediums who hold séances for their social circle. This circle includes the historical figures Captain and Emily Jesse; the sister of Alfred Tennyson, Emily was engaged to Arthur Hallam but married Captain Jesse after Hallam’s death. All present at the séances, including Captain Jesse, presume that Emily attends in the hope of receiving a message from her former fiancé. When Arthur sends a message that he and Emily will be joined in the hereafter, Emily surprises everyone by refusing to have anything to do with the arrangement. For Emily, as for several other members of the group, communing with the dead prompts a fuller appreciation of the living. Although these novellas are located at different points in the Victorian era and concern different characters, they are subtly linked. The title of the collection refers to both novellas, and they are concerned with the challenges posed to religion in the 19th century from both science and spiritualism. Moreover, the ending of “Morpho Eugenia” provides a subtle intertextual link to the plot of “The Conjugal Angel”; the ship that Matty and Adamson set sail on, The Calypso, is captained by Arturo Papagay, Lilias Papagay’s husband. The ending of “Morpho Eugenia” is ambiguous, leaving its protagonists “on the crest of a wave” (160) hovering between the ordered English world they are escaping and the Amazon to which they are headed. Although Arturo returns at the end of “The Conjugal Angel,” there is no such resurrection for Matty and Adamson, so the ambiguous ending of “Morpho Eugenia” is never resolved. In adopting such an elusive technique for closure, Byatt recalls Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853), which refuses to resolve the question whether the protagonist returns safely or drowns at sea. The novellas belong to the genre of neo-Victorian fiction, a mode of contemporary fiction that engages

with the Victorian past through an adoption of Victorian characters, locations, or themes. Byatt’s most famous work in that genre, Possession, adopts a dual plot to explore the interrelations between the 19th and 20th centuries. In contrast, the novellas in Angels and Insects are located entirely in the 19th century and adopt a narrative voice that appears consistent with 19th-century fiction. Yet Byatt remains aware of the 20th-century perspective of her readers and manages to incorporate it neatly into her stories without diminishing or patronizing the 19th-century context. Thus, while an opposition between 19th-century belief and 20th-century skepticism might be expected in “The Conjugal Angel,” Byatt complicates the issue by revealing the coexistence of an array of positions regarding spiritualism in the 19th century. She most expertly achieves this through the incorporation of various stanzas from Tennyson’s 19th-century poem, In Memoriam (1850); an elegy to Arthur Hallam, it articulated many of the Victorian anxieties and questions concerning religion and its place in the modern world.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Byatt, A. S. Angels and Insects. London: Chatto & Windus, 1992. Schor, Hilary M. “Sorting, Morphing and Mourning: A. S. Byatt Ghostwrites Victorian Fiction.” In Victorian Afterlife: Postmodern Culture Rewrites the Nineteenth Century, edited by John Kucich and Dianne F. Sadoff, 234–251. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. Louisa Hadley

ANNUALS AND GIFT BOOKS Assemblages of short stories, poetry, and engravings, appearing for the most part from the 1820s to the 1850s. The British annual industry originated with the publication in 1822 of Rudolph Ackerman’s Forget-Me-Not. Ackerman received his main inspiration from similar collections that were popular at the time in France and Germany, but the roots of the genre can also be traced to the personal albums and pocket books of the early 19th century in England. In these books, people, usually women, would transcribe their favorite poems and other literary pieces into a decorative volume to give as a remembrance to a friend or loved one. An early commercial example of such a book is Robert Southey’s Annual, published in


1799 and 1800, which collected poems from various poets for publication but did not include the illustrations that would become such a prominent fixture of the later gift books. In the couple of years following the publication of Ackerman’s Forget-Me-Not, a small number of rivals appeared, notably Friendship’s Offering, or the Annual Rembrancer in 1823 and The Literary Souvenir, or Cabinet of Poetry and Romance, edited by Alaric Watts, in 1824. These annuals were generally published in early November so as to be available for purchase as gifts for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Consequently, the books are generally associated with the year following publication, such as The Literary Souvenir for 1825, which would have been published late in 1824. The number of annuals steadily increased each year until, by 1831, more than 60 productions were in circulation. The most successful of them was The Keepsake, founded by Charles Heath, a prominent engraver. The Keepsake was produced annually for the years 1828 to 1857, outlasting Ackerman’s Forget-Me-Not, the last volume of which was for the year 1847. The only other annual to exceed 20 volumes was Friendship’s Offering, which was available from 1824 until 1844. Such a high number of contending volumes necessarily led to considerable competition among editors to secure suitable talent to fill their pages. In this regard, the standard was set by Charles Heath, who hired a new editor, Frederic Mansel Reynolds, for The Keepsake in 1828, and the two gentlemen traveled the country that year to secure contributors among the literary world’s elite. They offered large sums of money to Sir WALTER SCOTT, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, for example, all of whom contributed to The Keepsake (in addition to other annuals) despite the qualms they and many other established writers had about damaging their literary reputations by associating with what they perceived to be a less dignified industry. Another popular poet of the time, Thomas Moore, was greatly perturbed to discover the unauthorized inclusion of some of his lines despite his repeated rejection of Heath’s offers. Nevertheless, The Keepsake for 1829 offered works by an unprecedented collection of writers, including Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Moore, Laetitia Elizabeth Landon, Felicia

Hemans, Robert Southey, MARY SHELLEY, and Percy Shelley. Editors quickly decided, however, that securing such a large number of famous writers was not necessary for financial success, and, although later contributors to the annuals included CHARLES DICKENS, Lord Tennyson, John Ruskin, and Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, subsequent editions of The Keepsake and other annuals typically included much fewer big names. The particular significance given to the name recognition of contributors, especially in the earlier editions of the annuals, resulted in somewhat relaxed standards for the literary merit of the actual compositions included in the volume. Writers such as Scott or Wordsworth, who considered the gift book beneath their standards, often submitted work that had previously been rejected by other publishers or of which they were not particularly proud. Other writers, working under the strict guidelines imposed by the editors, would compose pieces especially for the annuals. Often, however, these writers would be commissioned to compose a short story or poem to complement an engraving that had already been secured. As a consequence, the selections would occasionally appear stilted or unnatural, and their relationship to the accompanying embellishment would seem forced. Mary Shelley is just one writer who acknowledged the pressure of these conditions, and a number of the 19 stories she contributed to The Keepsake involved some literary concessions on her part. Thereafter, although many famous authors contributed to the annuals, most of the works found in them do not qualify among the best-known or most appreciated of their careers. In many ways, however, the identity of the contributors to the annuals, as well as the quality of their offerings, was of less significance than the general appearance of the book itself. Designed to appeal to the middle-class consumer intent upon appearing fashionable, the gift books boasted gilt edges; delicate bindings of leather or silk, often vibrantly red or purple; and, most important, elegant engravings using the most recent steel-plate technology. Steel plates were more durable than the copper plates they replaced and allowed for crisper images. To take advantage of this new development, editors persuaded some of the most


prominent artists of the time to contribute their work. For example, J. M. W. Turner, from whom Heath commissioned 120 pictures during this period for his different publishing ventures, contributed 17 illustrations for The Keepsake from 1828 to 1837. Other artists included Robert Smirke, C. R. Leslie, and Richard Westall. Ironically, such details were employed to emulate the hand-crafted books often found in gentlemen’s libraries, but they were created in modern factories using the latest equipment to produce thousands of identical volumes for the marketplace. The bourgeois tone of the gift books was further encouraged by their subject matter. Selections overwhelmingly depicted sentimental domestic scenes, replete with weeping lovers, mothers, and children. These stories have also been seen to perpetuate conventions and standards for morals and behavior. Sacrifice, devotion, and filial piety were celebrated virtues. Some publishers considered it their responsibility to protect their readers from impropriety; their works were designed to offer a sanctuary from the worries of the outside world. At the same time, however, the increased focus on the experiences of women and the preponderance of female contributors—and, increasingly, editors—for the annuals has more recently begun to be recognized as a more subversive phenomenon, occurring as it did at a time when women had little access to public careers. Further, the recurring use of exotic locales and story lines offered temporary escape from the increasingly restrictive social conditions of the middle class. Although the quality of the contributions to the annuals has frequently been disparaged, their importance, especially for writers of fiction, should not be overlooked. The early 19th-century literary world was largely focused on poetry, while publishers of fiction generally sought out the three-volume novel. Popular magazines (see MAGAZINES, VICTORIAN) had offered some other venues for shorter fiction, though their editors often preferred novels, which would appear in serialized form. With the gift books arose a venue wherein writers of short stories could find an increased audience, one that perhaps required the flashy trappings of the exquisitely presented books to develop an interest in the literature included inside, and the proliferation

of these annuals allowed for greater numbers of writers, whether beginners or veterans, to explore the possibilities offered by the genre.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Booth, Bradford Allen, ed. A Cabinet of Gems. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1938. Boyle, Andrew. An Index to the Annuals: The Authors 1820– 1850. Worcester, England: A. Boyle, 1967. Faxon, Frederick. Literary Annuals and Gift Books: A Bibliography 1823–1903. Reprinted with Supplementary Essays by Eleanore Jamieson and Iain Bain. Middlesex, England: Private Libraries Association, 1973. Ledbetter, Kathryn. “Lucrative Requests: British Authors and Gift Book Editors,” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 2 (1994): 207–216. ———. “ ‘White Vellum and Gilt Edges’: Imaging The Keepsake,” Studies in the Literary Imagination 30, no. 2 (1997): 35–49. Adam Mekler

“ANTHEAP, THE” DORIS LESSING (1953) Originally published in DORIS LESSING’s second collection of short fiction, Five (1953), “The Antheap” relates the growth from childhood to young adulthood of Tommy, the son of white settlers in southern Africa. As elsewhere in her short fiction (e.g., “The OLD CHIEF MSHLANGA”), Lessing uses a child’s viewpoint to explore the processes of both enculturation into racist ideology and resistance to such acculturation. The antheap of the title refers to the place where Tommy meets secretly with Dirk, the son of the white mine owner Mr. Macintosh and a black woman who lives in the African compound on the mine. That Dirk is Macintosh’s son is known by all on the mine but can be acknowledged by no one, as young Tommy discovers when he asks his mother why Dirk is a different color from the other African children: “ ‘why do you ask?’ said Mrs. Clarke, with anger. Why, she was saying, do you infringe the rule of silence?” (311). The allegedly childless Mr. Macintosh takes an increasingly paternal interest in Tommy, paying for the education that will provide him with a promising future, but Tommy cannot forget that he is a changeling who has usurped the place of the real son, who is abandoned to a life of poverty and dangerous toil on the mine. An


intense relationship develops between the boys, and Tommy becomes the means through which some of the father’s riches are channeled to their rightful recipient, passing on to Dirk the education that he is receiving in a city school. The story explores themes of friendship, justice, and freedom, aiming never to underestimate the difficulties involved in a relationship that transgresses social codes. As a child, Tommy is taught to understand that his becoming a man involves operating the racial exclusions that his society is based upon: “ ‘You’re too big now to play with a lot of dirty kaffirs,’ ” his mother tells him (307). And young Tommy himself thrills to the self-importance he feels when Dirk tries to sell him a duiker: “ ‘Damned cheek, too much’ ” (309). Despite the older Tommy’s recognition of the injustice of Dirk’s situation, the boys are nonetheless frequently set in conflict over the privilege that Tommy cannot seem to help but believe he has a right to: “Slowly [Tommy] understood that his emotion was that belief in his right to freedom which Dirk always felt immediately” (346). Tommy’s belief in his own freedom, as well as the possibility of his accepting as natural Dirk’s lack of freedom, becomes an issue in one of the sculptures of Dirk that the promising artist Tommy produces: “ ‘Why haven’t I any hands or feet? . . . Surely it needn’t be wood. You could do the same thing if you put handcuffs on my wrists” (346–347), demands Dirk, responding to the disempowerment that he perceives in Tommy’s representation of him. In what is perhaps a moment of deliberate self-reflexivity, Lessing’s text here touches on the politics of representation, on the way that producing a representation of someone—in either visual art or fiction—involves the exercise of a certain power. Finally however, the boys both understand themselves to be bound together in a relationship that is deeper than liking, or being alike, and “closer than brothers” (320). At the close of the story the boys have won an agreement from Macintosh to send them both to university: “The victory was entirely theirs, but now they had to begin again, in the long and difficult struggle to understand what they had won and how they would use it” (349). Joining Tommy and Dirk together in the plural “they,” this ending is merely a beginning

for the boys. Their job is rather like that of the reader, to interpret what has taken place and what it will mean for the future.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Lessing, Doris, This Was the Old Chief’s Country: Collected African Stories. Vol. 1. 1953. London: Michael Joseph, 1973. Victoria Margree

APPLE FROM A TREE AND OTHER STORIES, AN MARGARET ELPHINSTONE (1991) Magic subversion and ecological agenda coexist in MARGARET ELPHINSTONE’s collection of short stories. Quirky creatures populate the stories, which retain a strong humanity, even when cast in the fantastic genre. Human characters often hallucinate to grasp the unintelligible, and their visions subversively enlighten their view of the world, questioning their own beliefs and defying rational understanding. Epistemological and social issues coexist strongly in the majority of the stories, as the supernatural challenges rational thinking and critically investigates modern society. The first story of the collection, “The Green Man,” bears evident links to the Scottish ballad tradition. Evocative of fairyland, the Green Man’s name, Lin, also establishes a specific connection with Tam Lin, the legendary hero of the Scottish ballad. The casual encounter with the Green Man accelerates a critical process of doubting already planted in the heroine, Sara’s, mind. As reality gradually loses its apparent order, a dramatic urge of artistic inspiration runs through Sara’s creative work. Eventually, the sacrificial death of the Green Man, whose elusive interpretation associates him with notions of fertility as well as otherness, allows life and rebirth for the planet. The modern world’s doomed state is the background to two related stories, “Conditions of Employment” and “The Cold Well.” In the first story, fortune-telling priestess Miranda’s fantastic encounters with characters from a remote past are juxtaposed against her more realistic visits into the ordinary present world. Both stories stress the importance of magical vision and the ability to foresee, imagine, and view things in an alter-

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native way. “The Cold Well,” inspired by the author’s visit to Sellafield nuclear station, reinforces the sense of danger incumbent on the natural world. In stark contrast to the cool and pristine waterfalls described at the beginning of the story, earth, water, fire, and air, separated from their natural harmonious symbiosis, are turned against each other in the dangerously artificial world of the nuclear station visited at the end of the story. The contrast between two clashing worlds is the focus of “An Apple from a Tree.” An apple bite initiates Alison’s friendship with a strange creature seemingly landed from another dimension in the middle of Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens: Nosila is, literally, Alison’s inverse double. Deceptively attractive and naive, Nosila is in fact a destabilizing force in her new context. Brought to this world through a gesture evocative of original sin, the creature represents the unknown other world, embodies a moral code, and impersonates a social behavior radically different from Alison’s own. Failed attempts of communication with human beings compensated by strong emotional bonds with houseplants and vegetables suggest that Nosila springs from a world closer to nature than Alison’s Edinburgh. A second bite into the magic apple throws the two out of the Botanic Gardens and onto the thick grass of Nosila’s world, where the sky is blue and the forest untouched. As the story develops, the awareness dawns that the possibility of them inhabiting the same world is unlikely. Like Sara and Miranda, Alison is alienated from her own world. All human characters from the collection undergo a process of self-growth catalyzed by their extraordinary experiences. The supernatural encounters in the stories from An Apple from a Tree push the boundaries of realism open to accept the irrational within the rational and, rather than invite a suspension of disbelief, ultimately question the existence of rigid boundaries between real and supernatural worlds.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Elphinstone, Margaret. An Apple from a Tree and Other Visions. London: The Women’s Press, 1991. Monica Germana


One of JAMES JOYCE’s most frequently anthologized works, “Araby” is the third in the trilogy of stories in his 1914 collection, DUBLINERS, which Joyce described in a letter to the publisher Grant Richards as “stories of my childhood.” Like its predecessors, “The Sisters” and “An Encounter,” “Araby” tells the story of an unfortunate fall from innocence, as a young boy comes to recognize the sorry state of the world in which he lives. On the whole, Joyce’s home city is not kindly portrayed in these stories; he set out in Dubliners to produce what he called “a moral history of my country,” with a particular focus on the supposed “centre of paralysis,” Dublin itself. “Araby” and the other stories of Dublin’s youth are tales of initiation into this gray world. As is the case with most of the stories in Dubliners, “Araby” takes its inspiration from remembered fragments of the author’s own childhood, including the Joyce family’s sometime residence on Dublin’s North Richmond Street, the Christian Brothers’ School that Joyce and some of his siblings briefly attended, and the “Araby” bazaar that passed through the city in May, 1894, when Joyce would have been 12 years old. Yet although Joyce’s life is deeply woven into his art, neither “Araby” nor any of his other works are merely autobiographical. These remembered elements come together in a story of a young boy in the intense grip of his first love, who imagines himself dispatched on a romantic quest by his beloved, only to realize in the end that his romantic notions were the naive fantasies of a child. The dismal state of Joyce’s Dublin is suggested in part by the gloomy atmosphere of the story. We are twice reminded in the opening moments that North Richmond Street is “blind.” At its dead end is an empty house, and along one side is a school whose description likens it to a prison. The “brown imperturbable faces” of the other houses suggest a neighborhood of pious moralists keeping each other under constant surveillance. The young boy’s own home is redolent of a past that persists in a stale and unpleasant form: The “air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms.” The house’s former tenant, a priest who passed away there, has left numerous uninspiring reminders of himself, from the rusty bicycle pump in

18 “ARABY”

the garden to the “old useless papers” scattered about the place. The narrator hints that the old man was at home among the street’s “brown imperturbable faces” when he tells us that the supposedly charitable old man left all of his money to unspecified “institutions” and only the furniture of his house to his sister. “Araby” is set in the short days of winter, whose cold and dark further underscore its gloomy atmosphere. Throughout, light contends weakly with an encroaching darkness. The boys’ evening play takes place among houses “grown sombre” and beneath a violet sky toward which “the lamps of the street lifted their feeble lanterns.” As the boy arrives at the nearly empty bazaar in the story’s closing moments, the lights are turned off in the gallery of the hall, leaving him “gazing up into the darkness.” Amid the persistent gloom, however, stands the radiant object of the boy’s devotion, Mangan’s sister, “her figure defined by the light.” The young boy’s ability to see dazzling light in the midst of overwhelming darkness is a function of the romantic idealism that is gradually stripped from him by his decidedly unromantic world. Even the scattered leavings of the dead priest, which include Sir WALTER SCOTT’s historical romance The Abbot, together with the memoirs of the adventurous criminal-turned-detective, Eugène François Vidocq, afford him fuel for his romantic imagination. Until the story reaches its sad conclusion, the boy is able to keep the darkness at bay, running happily through the darkened street with his young friends and transforming the clamor of the market on a Saturday evening into the backdrop for his imagined knight’s quest. There he imagines “that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes”; however, the boy’s adventure-story version of his world is challenged by the songs of the street singers, with their allusions to O’Donovan Rossa and other reminders of “troubles in our native land.” The boy imagines his adventurous life despite the political troubles whose effects are felt and sung all around him. For a while, he imagines himself able to transcend such concerns and inhabit a thrilling realm of heroism and perfect love. However, in the end his world will not sustain these happy illusions. The name of the Araby bazaar promises an Eastern exoticism entirely absent from the tawdry affair he finally experiences. Having imagined

himself a questing knight, the boy encounters in Araby his Chapel Perilous, a defiled temple where “two men were counting money on a salver,” and his heroic selfimage crumbles during his encounter with the young woman at the stall he visits, who clearly regards him as a young nuisance. He witnesses in the flirtatious but shallow exchange between the young woman and the two gentleman a version of love considerably less operatic than the devotion that brought him to Araby, and he comes to see himself as a much smaller being than the gallant hero who undertook a sacred quest for his beloved, regarding himself in the final moment “as a creature driven and derided by vanity.” In recounting the boy’s journey from passionate innocence to jaded cynicism, Joyce employs a narrative technique that is subtle but effective. The story is told from a first-person retrospective point of view that enables us to perceive two distinct but intimately related voices in the narration: that of the devoted young boy able to imagine himself a knight-errant “in places the most hostile to romance” and that of the subdued older man, recalling his younger self with an ironic detachment born of disappointment. The narration brings us inside the mind of the youthful lover, perplexed and overwhelmed by emotions that he can interpret only in the languages he knows: that of religious devotion and the stories of adventure and romance. Throughout, though, we are reminded that the young boy’s “confused adoration” is being recalled by his older and sadly unconfused self. The gloomy opening description of North Richmond Street, with its houses “conscious of decent lives within them,” gazing at each other “with brown imperturbable faces,” clearly reflects the perspective of the older man rather than that of the boy who careened through the same street in play. And the explicit judgment in the narrator’s recollection that “her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood” (emphasis mine) reflects an ironic self-perception that the young boy does not at that moment have. These two voices eventually converge in “Araby” ’s closing paragraph, when the narrator declares, “I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity,” revealing the origin of that ironic perspective in the moment of his sad fall from romance to cynicism.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. 1959. Revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. Gifford, Don. Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. Joyce, James. Dubliners: Text, Criticism, and Notes. Edited by Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz. New York: Penguin USA, 1996. Brian Patton

“ARTHUR SNATCHFOLD” E. M. FORSTER (1928/1972) Although E. M. FORSTER produced sufficient material in his writing career for three collections of short stories, he published only two collections in his lifetime: The Celestial Omnibus (1911) and The Eternal Moment (1928). The Life to Come and Other Stories was collected after Forster’s death in 1970 and was published in 1972. This was not the only instance of this happening. In 1971, Maurice, a novel that Forster had first drafted as early as 1913 and returned to many times throughout his life, also received its first publication posthumously. Its frontispiece reads “Dedicated to a Happier Year.” The reason for the delay in publishing these two texts was that Forster believed that their homosexual content would damage his and others’ reputations. Forster died only three years after homosexuality was first legalized in Britain, so even though he had enjoyed a successful literary career, he believed that no publisher would go near these works. The Life to Come and Other Stories features a variety of settings—from the more traditional, dramatic, and realist settings of “Arthur Snatchfold” and “Ansell” (both similar to that of Maurice) to the fantastical “The Life to Come” and the comic “The Obelisk.” The story “Arthur Snatchfold” is similar in structure to the latter half of Maurice. It tells the story of the bisexual Sir Richard Conway, who, while staying at his friend Donaldson’s country mansion, meets and becomes involved with Arthur Snatchfold, the estate’s milkman. The morning after they meet they have sex in the woods. Later, Donaldson tells Conway that Snatchfold was caught and convicted of “gross indecency” on “evidence of a medical character.” Snatchfold goes to prison without revealing the identity of his lover. The

story concludes with Conway guiltily relieved but also changed by the experience. He acknowledges this to himself by writing down Arthur’s name “in order that he might not forget it. He had only heard the name once, and he would never hear it again.” There is a variety of Forsterian themes at play in this story, the most obvious of which is that of the working class emancipating the upper class through a single act of coitus. This model of Uranian democracy is derived from the thought and writings of Edward Carpenter, a friend of Forster’s. And the working-class man was typically a man of the forest—an autochthonous man of the earth. Forster’s use of this symbol is out of step with 20th-century modernity. Instead, it suggests a pastoral nostalgia for a more equal world. Carpenter holds the notion that men can become equals through sex, the ultimate democratizer. Forster’s notion of queer desire in “Arthur Snatchfold” presents a radical vision of same-sex desire, not because the desire was against the law but because it suggests that society’s codes of behavior are artificial and unnatural and therefore can be broken.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bristow, Joseph, ed. Sexual Sameness: Textual Differences in Lesbian and Gay Writing. London: Routledge, 1992. Forster, E. M. The Life to Come and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1972. Martin, Robert K., and George Piggford, eds. Queer Forster. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. Vybarr Cregan-Reid

ASHENDEN W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1928) Ashenden, a collection of 16 interconnected stories, is based on W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM’s own experiences as a British secret agent in Switzerland and Russia during World War I. When first published, the stories seemed so authentic that Winston Churchill accused Maugham of breaching the British Official Secrets Act. As a consequence, the author burned 14 unpublished Ashenden texts. The collection is extremely important in the development of British espionage fiction, and both John le Carré and Len Deighton give Ashenden as a source of inspiration for their novels. What makes the stories innovative is that, in contrast to the lurid adventures


depicted in the spy fiction of E. Phillips Oppenheimer and William le Queux, the action in the Ashenden stories is often unglamorous, inconclusive, and even anticlimactic. The stories are narrated in the third person but almost exclusively give the point of view of the protagonist, Ashenden, “a writer by profession,” who is recruited to work for British intelligence during World War I. Ashenden’s experiences as an agent are recounted in a predominantly unemotional language, appropriate to the rather reserved and intellectual protagonist. However, he is not without feeling and often sympathizes with the predicaments and sufferings of the other principal characters (sometimes his enemies). Plots sometimes extend over two or more stories (for example, “The Hairless Mexican” and “The Greek”), but the collection as a whole is deliberately fragmentary. Endings are often ambiguous (“Miss King” and “The Flip of a Coin”) or inconclusive (“Gustav” and “A Chance Acquaintance”). Ashenden’s activities are usually dishonorable—they involve blackmail, lying, and aiding a murderer. Settings are frequently drab—small Swiss and French towns, shabby streets, and second-rate hotels—although the last six stories have the aura of great political events in the background and glamorous settings, such as a luxuriously furnished British Embassy. A notable feature of the collection is that several stories contain further stories within them, for example “The Hairless Mexican,” “His Excellency,” and “Love and Russian Literature.” “R” tells briefly of Ashenden’s almost casual recruitment by his spymaster, the enigmatic and unscrupulous Colonel R. Two linked stories, “A Domiciliary Visit” and “Miss King,” show Ashenden at work in Geneva. In the first tale, two Swiss policemen question him in his hotel room; in the second he plays cards with a beautiful Austrian agent and two anti-British Egyptians, after which he is called to the deathbed of a elderly English lady, who, although she has always professed a dislike for Britain, dies with the word “England” on her lips. Ashenden, however, has no idea what this dying word means for Miss King. “The Hairless Mexican” and “The Greek” depict an encounter with a sinister Mexican assassin who, with Ashenden’s help, murders an innocent man by mistake. In “A Trip

to Paris” and “Giulia Lazzari” Ashenden and R blackmail a prostitute in order to entrap an Indian nationalist. “Gustav” presents espionage as a cynical way of making money, and in “The Traitor” Ashenden again tricks a British traitor to his death. The remaining six stories show Ashenden’s work in an unnamed country and in Russia just before the Revolution of 1917. The stories center on a British ambassador who, despite his glittering success, thinks his life a failure; a determined Polish nationalist; a beautiful Russian woman who is Ashenden’s former lover; and the talkative and prim American businessman Mr. Harrington, whose death, because of his refusal to abandon his dirty washing, is representative of the sordid and ironic events that these cynical, but not unfeeling, stories depict.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bloom, Clive, ed. Spy Thrillers: From Buchan to Le Carré. Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 1990. Maugham, W. Somerset. Ashenden. 1918. London: Mandarin, 1991. David Malcolm

ASPERN PAPERS, THE HENRY JAMES (1888) One of the most enduringly popular of HENRY JAMES’s shorter fictions, The Aspern Papers was first published in serial form in the American journal Atlantic from March to May 1888. Its central theme concerns the attempt by the story’s anonymous narrator—an American literary historian—to procure documents relating to the life of an imaginary expatriate American romantic-era poet named Jeffery Aspern. These documents (chiefly love letters), he believes, are in the possession of Aspern’s former mistress Juliana Bordereau, who, now elderly and very infirm, lives alone with her middle-aged niece in a crumbling palazzo in Venice. Taking advantage of the two women’s financial straits, the narrator installs himself as a boarder in their home, hoping to find a means of obtaining the papers, if necessary after Juliana’s death. But the stress of waiting proves to be too much for the narrator, who eventually succumbs to the temptations of proximity and attempts to steal the letters. He is caught in the act by Juliana herself, who denounces him as a “publishing scoundrel.” The only alternative offered to him is the suggestion by the younger Miss Bordereau that he join the


family, by marrying her and thereby gain legitimate access to the papers. Although he has trifled with her affections, the narrator refuses to marry a “ridiculous, pathetic, provincial old woman” to gain his ends. Instead, he flees Venice, and the precious papers are painstakingly burnt one by one. The story, with its mixture of comic, gothic, and realist elements, has intrigued critics since the time of its publication. First, the identities of James’s characters and the broad outline of his story parallel certain facts surrounding the history of Claire Clairmont, former mistress of the infamous romantic poet Lord Byron (1788–1824). In old age, Clairmont accepted an American lodger named Captain Silsbee, who was himself in pursuit of papers pertaining to Byron and his fellow poet Percy Shelley. James included these details in his notebook, but his alterations to the original story he had heard are important and give some indication of the tale’s wider significance. For example, James relocates the story from Florence to Venice, using Venice’s blend of cosmopolitanism, historical continuities, and unique landscape as a metaphor for his questioning of the priorities of literary criticism and the importance of privacy even among public figures. Venice’s palaces, outwardly austere and inward-looking, mask the private gardens inside which, like the secret lives of the inhabitants, provide the literal and figurative means by which the narrator gains admittance to the Bordereaus. Likewise, the narrator’s anonymity (and pseudonymity) contrasts with the scrutiny he intends to give the lives of his hostess and her dead lover. Last, James’s model for Aspern himself has caused much speculation, though the truth is probably that James created him as a kind of hybrid figure, representative of many literary figures whose works have fostered ruthless investigations into their authors’ private lives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Klujeff, Marie Lund. “The Shades of Tone: The Narrator’s Tone of Voice in Henry James’s ‘The Aspern Papers.’ ” In Reinventions of the Novel: Histories and Aesthetics of a Protean Genre, edited by Karen-Margrethe Simonsen, Marianne Ping Huang, and Mads Rosendahl Thomson, 191–202. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004. James, Henry. The Aspern Papers and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Reeve, N. H., ed. Henry James: The Shorter Fiction: Reassessments. Basingstoke, England. Macmillan, 1997. John Ballam

ATKINSON, KATE (1951– ) Kate Atkinson was born in York in 1951 and studied English literature in the University of Dundee. She cites American short story writers, particularly Robert Coover and Donald Barthelme, as important influences. She won the Woman’s Own short story prize in 1988 and the Ian St James Award for “Karmic Mothers = Fact or Fiction?” in 1993. Atkinson came to public attention, however, with her Whitbread-winning debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995), a cross-generational, tragicomic account of one British family with a Tristram Shandy– like narrative. Human Croquet (1997) and Emotionally Weird (2000) also deal with time, memory, family, and consciousness but make greater use of her trademark techniques of narrative fragmentation, intertextuality, and ambiguous elements of fantasy. Her short stories over the same period, such as “This Dog’s Life” (1997), “Inner Balance” (1998), and “A Partner for Life” (2000), proved well suited to radio adaptation, showing an interest in dramatic narrative also reflected in her writing of two plays. Atkinson’s first volume of stories, NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (2002), also places acute observation of everyday domestic experience in surreal quasi–magic realist contexts. But in keeping with her insistence on the importance of the short story, she makes wide use of its possibilities. Departing from the earlier novels’ first-person voices, Not the End of the World contains 12 distinct yet interlinked third-person narratives that take up the stories of different characters across different times. Each story develops another aspect of the previous ones to produce an amorphous whole. References to classical mythology are interwoven throughout, and the opening and closing sections frame the volume with their account of two women making lists and spinning tales amid what might—or might not—be the end of the world. Atkinson’s Case Histories (2004) returns to the novel form, but its multilayered tracing of three central stories shows the ongoing influence of the short story mode on her work.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Atkinson, Kate. Behind the Scenes at the Museum. London: Doubleday, 1995. ———. Human Croquet. London: Doubleday, 1997. ———. Not the End of the World. London: Doubleday, 2002. Muireann O’Cinneide

“AT THE END OF THE PASSAGE” RUDYARD KIPLING (1890) “At the End of the Passage,” one of RUDYARD KIPLING’s Indian tales, was first serialized in 1890 and appeared in the 1891 collection Life’s Handicap. It deals with themes familiar to Kipling’s Indian fiction: the grueling day-to-day work involved in the running of British India and the incursion, or apparent incursion, of the supernatural. The story opens with four friends, Hummil, Spurstow, Mortram, and Lowndes, spending an evening at Hummil’s bungalow. The pressures of work and the ravaging heat combine to make them, especially Hummil, lackluster and weary. Later Hummil confides to Spurstow, a doctor, the full extent of the nightmares that afflict him. Spurstow administers morphine and advises him to take time off, but Hummil declines. Alone, he is confronted with an apparition of himself but endeavours to rationalize the experience. However, a week later he is discovered dead, having apparently died of pure fright. He is hastily buried, and life amid the excruciating Indian summer goes on. The story employs standard gothic motifs: delirium, nightmares, doubles. Also, like much gothic fiction, it is ambivalent: It is impossible to determine if the events depicted have a genuinely supernatural cause or result from psychological disturbance. Certainly the strain of the work to which Hummil is subjected appears conducive to hallucination. At the same time, the suggestion of some external agency at work is not easily discarded, especially in view of native superstitions as expressed by Hummil’s servant Chuma, and the sheer extent of the horror in Hummil’s dead eyes. Kipling’s emphasis in this story is also the appalling work conditions that cause Hummil to break down— the kind of hardships Kipling felt were generally suppressed or misrepresented in official accounts of Anglo-Indian life. The discrepancy between such

reports and the grim reality is made painfully clear in this story as the four friends, worn out in rendering service to the empire, read a newspaper report of a politician accusing Anglo-Indians of living in luxury while oppressing the natives. And much of the narrative is given over to describing the overpowering heat, loneliness, and boredom that they suffer. Furthermore, there is the burden of overwork: Hummil has had to take on extra duties after the death of a colleague apparently driven to suicide. Moreover, it is implied that he might have been saved if his friends had not been too busy to keep an eye on him. However, Kipling wishes to draw attention not only to the strains of Anglo-Indian working life but also to its unsung heroism. Hummil’s refusal to take some leave arises out of a noble desire to spare Burkett, the man who would have to take over, as Burkett has family commitments. Spurstow is impressed, declaring that he thought such acts of selflessness belonged in the past. Beyond this, Hummil’s sacrifice goes virtually unrecognized. But for Kipling, it is all the more remarkable on that account—one example among many in his Indian fiction of the kind of valor upon which the great Indian empire rests, and for which it grants scant reward.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kipling, Rudyard. Life’s Handicap. Edited by A. O. J. Cockshut. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. Gurdip Kaur Panesar

AWARDS AND PRIZES Reviewers and critics agree that literary prizes are significant for the promotion and exposure of writers and their work. Unlike in the United States, where the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction considers short story collections as well as novels, Britain’s leading literary awards such as the Booker, Whitbread, and Orange prizes are open only to novels. The wide publicity and commercial success enjoyed by the winners of these prizes consolidate authors in the literary canon and extend the scope of the contemporary novel to a wider and more international readership. By comparison, the prizes for which short story collections are eligible are relatively unknown outside the book trade and attract little media attention. Also,


compared with the Booker’s £50,000 and the Orange’s £30,000, the prize money offered by short story awards is comparatively low. Until recently, the Macmillan Silver PEN was the only award specifically given for short story collections. However the launch in 2004 of the £10,000 International Orange Award for New Writing (a spinoff from the £30,000 Orange prize for fiction), the National Short Story Prize in 2005, and the Frank O’Connor Award also in 2005 suggests a growing recognition of the importance of the form. In addition, the genre benefits from other, smaller prizes that nominate an unpublished short story such as the International PEN David T. K. Wong Prize for Short Fiction, the V. S. PRICHETT Memorial, and the Bridport prizes. The most important literary prizes awarded for short story collections are the Somerset Maugham Award, the WHSmith Award, the Guardian First Book Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the Macmillan Silver PEN Award. Created and endowed in 1947 by SOMERSET MAUGHAM to enable British authors under the age of 35 to enrich their writing by spending time abroad, the Somerset Maugham Awards are granted to writers on the strength of a published work of fiction (novel or short story collection), biography, history, philosophy, travel, or poetry. Authors must be British subjects by birth. The awards are administered annually by the Society of Authors, and each winner receives £3,500. The first to win the Somerset Maugham Award for a short story collection was Nigel Kneale in 1950 for Tomato Cain and Other Stories. More recent recipients include IAN MCEWAN in 1976 for First Love Last Rites, Clive Sinclair in 1981 for Hearts of Gold, ADAM MARSJONES in 1982 for Lantern Lecture, and Helen Simpson in 1991 for Four Bare Legs in a Bed. The Guardian First Book Awards were launched in 1999 to replace the Guardian Fiction Prize, which was awarded annually since 1965 to a work of fiction. Addressed to first-time authors, the current Guardian Awards are open to fiction, poetry, biography, memoir, history, politics, science, and current affairs. The annual award is worth £10,000 to the winner, and the selection is made by a panel of critics and writers, chaired by the

literary editor of the newspaper. In its 38 years of operation, only once has a short story collection been awarded the prize, Pauline Melville’s Shape-Shifter (1990). Founded in 1959, the WHSmith literary Award is judged by an independent panel of three judges who call in books from publishers. Writers from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, or the Irish Republic are eligible. The prize is awarded annually to all genres of literature, and its current value is £10,000. The WHSmith has been awarded to short story collections three times since its inception. Winners include NADINE GORDIMER in 1961 for Friday’s Footprint, V. S. PRITCHETT in 1990 for A Careless Window and Other Stories, and ALICE MUNRO in 1995 for Open Secrets. The Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize was established in 1963 as a memorial to the founder and first chairman of the publishing firm Faber & Faber. The value of the prize is £1,000, and it is awarded in alternate years to a work of poetry and a work of prose fiction. The author must be under the age of 40 at the time of publication. Three reviewers, nominated by literary editors of newspapers and magazines that regularly review fiction and poetry, choose the winner. WILL SELF’s The Quantity Theory of Insanity is the only short story collection to win the prize (1993). Established in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are awarded annually to fiction and biography written in English and originating with a British publisher. They are two of the most prestigious awards in Britain. Each of the two prizes is worth £3,000 to the winner. In 1943 Mary Lavin’s Tales from Bectine Bridge became the first short story collection to win the prize. It was followed by Allegro Positions by Jonathan Keates in 1983. No short story collection has been awarded the prize since. The Commonwealth Foundation established the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1987 to encourage the upsurge of new Commonwealth fiction. The prize is awarded annually to a work of prose fiction (novel or short story collection). It is divided into two categories: Best Book Award and Best First Published Book Award of £10,000 and £3,000, respectively. The work must be written originally in English by a citizen of the Commonwealth. There is no restriction on setting, theme, or mode. There is no requirement that the work


should discuss the Commonwealth. The prize has been awarded to short story collections three times since its inception. Winners include Olive Senior in 1987 for Summer Lighting, John Cranna in 1990 for Visitors, and Pauline Melville in 1991 for Shape-Shifter. The Macmillan Silver PEN Award is sponsored by Macmillan publishers, ST Dupont, and English PEN and is awarded annually to a collection of short stories. The winner is chosen from nominations made by the vice presidents and members of the PEN executive committee only; entries are not required. Winners receive £500 plus a silver Dupont pen. The most recent recipients include WILLIAM TREVOR in 2001 for The HILL BACHELORS and Bill Broady in 2002 for In this Block There Lives a Slag. In 2000, English PEN founded the International PEN David T. K. Wong Prize for Short Fiction. The prize is awarded every other year to previously unpublished short stories of between 2,500 and 6,000 words from writers worldwide. The first prize is £7,500. The V. S. Pritchett and Bridport prizes are also awarded for unpublished short stories. The Royal Society of Literature founded the former in 1999 to commemorate the centenary of the eponymous short story writer. Residents and citizens of Great Britain and Ireland are eligible to enter. The value of the prize is £1,000. The Bridport Prize is endowed by the Bridport Arts Centre and invites entries for original poems and stories. The total value of the award is £4,500 divided among the winners of the first (£3,000), second (£1,000), and third (£500) prize. In 2001 the top 26 stories and poems were published in the Bridport Prize 2001 anthology. In 2005, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), supported by BBC

Radio 4 and Prospect magazine, launched the largest award for a single short story in the United Kingdom. The National Short Story Prize awards £15,000 annually for the winning story, £3,000 for the runner-up, and £500 for three other short-listed stories. Additionally, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast the short-listed stories, and Prospect will publish the winning entry. Finally, the single largest prize in the world for a collection of short stories, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award sponsored by O’Flynn Construction, was introduced in 2005. The Chinese author Yiyun Li received €50,000 for her debut collection of short stories, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. It is hoped that the award will be held biannually. The short story has been neglected by the mainstream prize industry even for the less important prizes for which single-author collections are eligible, which favor novels in their winning lists. The Somerset Maugham Award has chosen short story collections over novels only five times since its inception. The WHSmith Award was running for nearly 31 years before it nominated a story collection for the first time in 1990, followed by one more in 1995, while the Guardian First Book Award has included only one collection of short fiction in its lists of winners. Thanks to the recent launch of a number of high-profile prizes for short story collections, things may be about to change. It remains to be seen whether the successful promotion of a major prize will help offset the trade’s constant privileging of novels and secure for the short story a permanent place on the literary calendar. Vana Avgerinou


BD In “Mum and Mr. Armitage” the pair’s long-awaited arrival at the hotel and the liveliness they bring backfires when Miss Emmet, an old spinster, endures an event with Mum and Mr. Armitage that forces her to stand up to these two characters, causing them, Mum especially, to become the figures of fun and gossip. “People for Lunch” is a humorous and dark story pivoting on two couples being made to have lunch in the garden by the teenage son who will not move from the sofa. The lunch party becomes a spectacle: A private act is taken into the public domain for all to see (including drunken passersby returning from the pub), highlighting the farcicality of the lunch party. “Perhaps You Should Talk to Someone,” narrated by an adolescent called Katie, similarly focuses on the performative element of life and the social expectation that one should be adept in manipulating the truth. The lack of boundary between life and the stage is cleverly conveyed in “CLAP HANDS, HERE COMES CHARLIE,” which concentrates on the estrangement between family members attending a production of Peter Pan. The story ends with the husband’s death and Tinkerbell’s resurrection, suggesting that art overtakes life. Bainbridge’s stories leave the reader thinking: Her narratives lack conclusions, yet they all seem to have a moral attached that the reader is meant to incorporate into his or her own life. Furthermore, houses are not homes: Conciliation and comfort are absent in the domestic sphere. This is poignantly represented in the story “Helpful O’Malley,” in which an overseer,


Born in the north of England, in Lancashire, on November 21, 1934, Beryl Bainbridge grew up and began her career as an actress in Liverpool. Her first novel, A Weekend with Claud, was published in 1967. Bainbridge is regarded primarily as a novelist, and her popularity has led to her being created a Dame of the British Empire (equivalent to a knighthood) and being shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times. Bainbridge has published more than 15 novels as well as nonfiction pieces and two editions of short stories. Some of her novels have been been adapted into films, including An Awfully Big Adventure in 1995 starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. Bainbridge’s novels are an eclectic mix of historical analyses, such as Every Man for Himself’s focus on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, and realist novels set in England that explore the tumultuous relationship between the sexes in the domestic sphere. Michiko Kakutani, writing for the New York Times, provides a starting point for an analysis of Bainbridge’s stories, in his remark, “Reading these stories, it’s clear that Ms. Bainbridge has a dry, dark-humored wit as well as a sharp eye for incongruous details.” This sharpness undoubtedly comes from Bainbridge’s “tight plotting” (Guardian), which subverts seemingly normal and mundane issues into gripping “snapshot” stories. Bainbridge draws on her career on the stage to explore performance within the domestic sphere, and the stories suggest that life is the most dramatic performance of all.



O’Malley, lets a room to Edith, a girl who wants to escape from her dying mother but ends up committing suicide in the cold and lonely room after a chat with O’Malley. The domestic sphere is threatening, not comforting—a space where harm can occur. This concern with domesticity and its ambivalence aligns Bainbridge with other 20th-century women writers of short stories, such as KATHERINE MANSFIELD and ELIZABETH BOWEN. The fluctuating narrative positions in Bainbridge’s stories are similar to those of Margaret Atwood: The reader is more knowing than the character and is placed in a godlike position to pass judgment on the characters’ actions and decisions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bainbridge, Beryl. Collected Stories. London: Penguin, 1994. ———. Watson’s Apology and Mum & Mr. Armitage and Other Stories. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988. ———. A Weekened with Claud. London: Hutchinson, 1967. Republished as A Weekend with Claude, London: Duckworth, 1981. Guardian. “Beryl Bainbridge (1934– ).” Guardian Unlimited. Available online. URL: authors/author/o,,-14,00.html. Accessed March 31, 2006. Kakutani, Michiko. Review of Mum and Mr. Armitage, New York Times, 11 July 1987. Smith, Jules. “Beryl Bainbridge”. Contemporary Writers. Available Online. URL: Downloaded on March 31, 2006. Lucy Le Guilcher

BALLARD, J. G. (1930– ) Best known for his novels Crash (1973) and Empire of the Sun (1984), James Graham Ballard is also a prolific short story writer. He slid into writing SCIENCE FICTION in the mid1950s because its generic content approximated Ballard’s own concerns (time, technology, the unconscious) in a way that more mainstream fiction did not. Ballard has also benefited, as a professional writer, from the genre’s dependence on short fiction. Ballard was born into a colonial family in Shanghai, a city marked by crime, poverty, and commerce. When Shanghai fell to the Japanese in 1941, Ballard and his parents were incarcerated in a prisoner-of-war camp, a key moment when (as he has often remarked) Ballard

realized that reality was little more than a stage set that could be disassembled. Following the war, Ballard was sent to the Leys School in Cambridge to complete his education. He began to study medicine at Cambridge University in 1950 but dropped out after his second year. Ballard pursued a number of jobs during the 1950s, including advertising agent and test pilot, and also married his wife, Mary (who died in 1964), and raised a family. When his stories “Prima Belladonna” and “Escapement” were published, respectively, in Science Fantasy and Terra Novae in 1956, Ballard became a full-time writer. Ballard received encouragement from Ted Carnell, the editor of Terra Novae. Carnell, who had launched the journal in 1947, was keen to promote younger writers even when (as in Ballard’s case) they drew criticism from more traditional readers of science fiction. In 1964 Carnell appointed the young MICHAEL MOORCOCK to be his successor. Moorcock immediately retitled the journal New Worlds and began to replace the writers of Carnell’s generation with his own contemporaries as well as slightly older writers such as Brian Aldiss. Most of all, Moorcock was inspired by Ballard’s exploration of new styles and content. Ballard’s early short stories, marked by a variety of influences from avant-garde literature, surrealism, and psychoanalysis, established the characteristic themes of his fiction. “The Voices of Time” (1960), for example, offers a series of striking images and metaphors to describe the passage of time and the effects of entropy. “The Terminal Beach” (1964) is the first of what Ballard called his “condensed novels.” Plot and story are virtually nonexistent, and the text is divided into titled subsections, further disrupting narrative development and foregrounding its own artifice. The text is primarily concerned with the outer landscape, in particular with images derived from nuclear radiation and with the recesses of the mind (which Ballard termed “inner space”). Although Ballard has received considerable recognition as a novelist, he is particularly well suited to writing the short story because of the form’s emphases on character over plot, single effects over lengthy description, and ambiguity over narrative resolution. The strategies he deploys, however, allied to his subject


matter of urban landscapes, media technologies, and mass consumerism, are quite unlike those of the traditional short story and have instead been identified with postmodernism. These elements are, perhaps, most effectively combined in Ballard’s cycle of condensed novels, The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), a surrealistic and fractured attempt in which to understand the political and social upheavals of the 1960s through an unstable, anonymous protagonist. Despite the disorienting look of texts such as The Atrocity Exhibition, as well as later collections such as Myths of the Near Future (1982) and War Fever (1990), Ballard’s concentration on lone characters is an extreme proof for FRANK O’CONNOR’s claim that the short story is innately drawn to outsiders. For other writers concerned with the alienation of contemporary society, such as MARTIN AMIS, IAN MCEWAN, and WILL SELF, Ballard has proved to be an important influence. (See also “DREAM CARGOES.”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ballard, J. G. The Complete Short Stories. London: Flamingo, 2001. Luckhurst, Roger. The Angle between Two Walls: The Fiction of J. G. Ballard. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1997. Stephenson, Gregory. Out of the Dream and into the Night: A Thematic Study of the Work of J. G. Ballard. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Paul March Russell

BARKER, NICOLA (1966– ) Born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, Nicola Barker spent much of her childhood in South Africa before returning to the United Kingdom to take a place at King’s College, Cambridge. After graduating she worked in a variety of jobs before her first collection, the prize-winning Love Your Enemies, was published to great acclaim in 1993. This was followed by Heading Inland (1996) and more recently by The Three Button Trick (2004), which incorporates the best from both earlier collections. Her most recent novel is Clear, inspired by the U.S. magician David Blain’s suspension in a Perspex box in London in 2003. Barker’s stories are often about people willing to go to physical or mental extremes, or they involve people caught up in fantastical situations. In “Inside Information,” Martha, a shoplifter, becomes pregnant

and thinks she can turn this to her advantage. Suddenly she finds herself harried by her fetus, which can talk and has a mind of its own. The story “Layla’s Nose Job,” about a 16-year old London girl with an extraordinarily long nose who finds that plastic surgery uncovers (rather than hides) her dark side, is typical of Barker’s interest with those who are outsiders or are alienated from society. Barker’s work is sometimes criticized for its excessive use of images, but for many critics she represents a breath of fresh air. In Ali Smith’s words, Barker is “an energiser for the more moribund forms of Englishness and English fiction” (14).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Barker, Nicola. Behindlings. London: Flamingo, 2002. ———. Clear. London: Flamingo, 2004. ———. Heading Inland. London: Faber, 1996. ———. Love Your Enemies. London: Faber, 1993. ———. The Three Button Trick. London: Flamingo, 2003. Smith, Al. “The Tapeworm and the Tumor,” Guardian 5 (5 July 2003), 14. Peter Matthias


Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England, on January 19, 1946. The child of two French teachers, Barnes was educated at the City of London School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied modern languages. After graduating with honors in 1968, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary supplement. Barnes studied to become a barrister but soon decided on a writing career, preferring to write book reviews for the Oxford Mail and the Times Educational Supplement than practice law: “I came to realise that there was more pleasure in [writing reviews] than any prospect of a trespass case and £100” (Hawtree, 19). His talent for fiction became evident in 1975, when his first published short story, “A Self-Possessed Woman,” appeared in The Times Anthology of Ghost Stories. The story centers on Philip, the editor of an academic journal, and his interactions with Mrs. Beesley, a medium capable of contacting the spirit world and transcribing the thoughts and unfinished works of deceased authors, including James Joyce and William Makepeace Thackeray. Although Barnes’s first attempt at short fiction, the story reveals his superb sense of


irony, his interest in authors and authorship, and the interplay between truth and fiction—themes he would revisit in later works of fiction. Barnes’s first collection of short stories proper, CROSS CHANNEL (1996), centers on the complex relationship between England and France. The stories in Cross Channel explore issues familiar from Barnes’s longer works of fiction (adult relationships, love, history, and truth), but each also attempts to illuminate the similarities and differences between the two cultures. Known for his exacting attention to detail and a heavy use of factual information, Barnes, in the best stories in the collection, uses the factual nuances of daily life to illustrate these larger themes. The opening story, “Interference,” concerns Leonard Verity, an English composer on the verge of death who is living in a small French village with his mistress Adeline. Verity has recently finished what he considers his final masterpiece and desires to hear it performed before his death, but Adeline fails to ask the villagers not to run their electrical equipment. The resulting interference with his radio signal occurs just as he dies and symbolizes the disjunction between the English and French. Similar conflicts can be found throughout the collection, whether in a cricket match between English and French clubs, an Englishwoman’s yearly pilgrimage to visit French World War I memorials, or a train journey through the Channel Tunnel. In his second and most recent collection, The Lemon Table (2004), Barnes takes aging and death as his overall theme. The lemon is the Chinese symbol for death, and the book takes it title from a restaurant in Helsinki where, at the beginning of the 20th century, artists like the composer Sibelius used to sit at a “lemon table” to talk about death. In much the same way, each story in the collection addresses the topic, but Barnes does not portray late life as a genteel quieting of the spirit. Instead, the characters in The Lemon Table are extensions of their former selves, full of love, hatred, jealousy, anger, sympathy, and humor. Unlike Barnes’s stories published in the early 1980s, the pieces in Cross Channel and The Lemon Table are more highly refined in structure, with deeper layers of meaning and more carefully crafted language and tone. The characters are also more developed and the rela-

tionships more complex. Because the stories are unified by a central theme, critics have often drawn comparisons with Barnes’s earlier works, such as A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. In fact, after reading The Lemon Table, critic André Alexis commented, “I felt a little as if I’d read a novel.” Whether writing a novel or collection of stories, Barnes is highly skilled at weaving together weighty themes with a deep understanding of humanity and a willingness to uncover the humor and ironies of life.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexis, André. “Not a Lemon in the Bunch,” The Globe and Mail, 17 July 2004, p. D7. Barnes, Julian. Cross Channel. London: Jonathan Cape, 1996; New York: Knopf, 1996. ———. (as Dan Kavanagh). “The 50p Santa,” Time Out (London), December 1985, pp. 12–13. ———. “Hamlet in the Wild West,” Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose 24/25 (1995): 59–62. ———. The Lemon Table. London: Jonathan Cape, 2004; New York: Knopf, 2004. ———. “One of a Kind,” London Review of Books, 18 February–3 March 1982, pp. 23–24. ———. “On the Terrace,” Punch, 28 October 1981, pp. 746–748. ———. “A Self-Possessed Woman.” In The Times Anthology of Ghost Stories, 132–149. London: Jonathan Cape, 1975. ———. “Trespass,” New Yorker, 24 November 2003, pp. 86–93. ———. “The Writer Who Liked Hollywood,” New Statesman, 2 July 1982, pp. 18–20. Birkerts, Sven. “Julian Barnes.” In British Writers, edited by George Stade and Carol Howard. Supplement IV, 65–76. New York: Scribner, 1997. Guignery, Vanessa. “Julian Barnes in Conversation,” Cercles 4 (2002): 255–269. Available online. URL: http://www. Accessed May 5, 2006. Hawtree, Christopher. “Novel Escapes,” Times Saturday Magazine (London), 13 January 1996, pp. 18–19, 21–22. Oates, Joyce Carol. “But Noah Was Not a Nice Man,” New York Times Book Review, 1 October 1989, pp. 12–13. Pateman, Matthew. Julian Barnes. Writers and Their Work. Tavistock, Devon, England: Northcote House in association with the British Council, 2002. Roberts, Ryan. Julian Barnes Website. Available online. URL: Accessed May 5, 2006. Ryan Roberts

BATES, H. E. 29

BARSTOW, STAN (1928– )

A former engineering draftsman, Stan Barstow began to write stories and novels in the 1950s partly as an alternative to the daily grind of office life. His background is a northern English working-class one, and he is often associated, perhaps misleadingly, with other realist regional writers of his generation, notably John Braine, KINGSLEY AMIS, ALAN SILLITOE, and David Storey—so-called angry young men whose work focuses on the aspirations of working-class and lower-middle-class young men trying to come to terms with the pressures of family and environment. Barstow became famous with his novel A Kind of Loving (1960). This story, about an intelligent, respectable young man (Victor Brown) who gets his girlfriend Ingrid pregnant and has to adjust to living with the consequences because “life is no fairy tale,” is set, like most of Barstow’s fictional works, in the mythical industrial town of Cressley, located somewhere in West Yorkshire. It is notable for its evocation of time and place, for its first-person narrative, and for its frank treatment of sexual relationships. Victor and Ingrid’s story is continued in two sequels, The Watchers on the Shore (1966) and The Right True End (1966), works in which the characters struggle to come to terms with what Ingrid von Rosenberg describes as “feelings of disorientation, insecurity, loneliness” (147). These are recurring themes in Barstow’s work, notably in the title story of his first short story collection, The Desperadoes (1961), about a gang of male teenagers. Barstow’s second collection, A Season with Eros (1971), gives more prominence to working-class and lower-middle-class women characters. (Some critics have suggested that Barstow’s early representation of women is misogynistic, but his later work seems less so.) Disparaged by some critics for unadventurous technique, these later stories are rich in religious symbolism. Such symbolism is also apparent in the stories that make up The Glad Eye (1984), in which the focus is often on vulnerable, middle-aged women worn down by circumstances (or by their husbands) who are driven to act in a way that is entirely out of keeping with what those around them expect. Like all Barstow’s work, these stories are striking for his refusal to romanticize male-female relationships, highlighting instead how economics and class

can often override the best of intentions. Barstow’s work is highly regarded, thanks largely to the skill and compassion with which he depicts the lives and aspirations of the northern working classes.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Barstow, Stan. The Desperadoes and Other Stories. London: Joseph, 1961. ———. The Glad Eye and Other Stories. London: Joseph, 1984. ———. A Season with Eros. London: Joseph, 1971. Haywood, Ian. Working-Class Fiction. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1997. Rosenberg, Ingrid von. “Militancy, Anger and Resignation: Alternative Moods in the Working Class Novel of the 1950s and Early 1960s.” In The Socialist Novel in Britain, edited by H. G. Klaus, 145–165. New York: St. Martin’s, 1982. Andrew Maunder

BATES, H. E. (1905–1974)

A former reporter and clerk, Herbert Bates wrote novels, poetry, and short stories from 1926 until his death in 1974. He was a protégé of Edward Garnett and GRAHAM GREENE, both of whom were instrumental in getting his early work published. Bates’s first collection of short stories, Day’s End, was published in 1928. Their mostly rural settings were inspired by the Midlands county of Northamptonshire, where Bates grew up, and his interest in how the countryside was affected by the spread of industrialization. Bates’s interest in rural life is a recurrent feature in his work and is most famously apparent in My Uncle Silas (1939), a series of anecdotal tales centering around the lovable and often drunken Uncle Silas, said to be based on Bates’s uncle, Joseph Betts. Versions of these stories were filmed in 2003 with Albert Finney in the title role. The anarchic atmosphere of the character is taken up again in The Darling Buds of May (1958), the first in a wildly successful series of stories featuring the larger-than-life Pop and Ma Larkin and their children. The Larkins refusal to marry, their avoidance of income tax, and their relaxed attitude to life clearly appealed to readers who wanted escape from the stifling conformity of 1950s Britain. Sequels followed: A Breath of Fresh Air was published in 1959 and When the Green Woods Laugh in 1960. The


stories were televised in the 1980s and 1990s and gained another popular following. Often overlooked in histories of the short story, partly because his work often seems devoid of any political or social edge, Bates was like A. E. COPPARD in his interest in the form (he published an important critique, The Modern Short Story, in 1941) and his wish to record the changing face of the English countryside and its customs.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Baldwin, Dean R. “Atmosphere in the Stories of H. E. Bates,” Studies in Short Fiction 21 (1984): 15–22. ———. H. E. Bates: A Literary Life. Selinsgove, Pa.: Susquehanna University Press, 1987. Bates, H. E. The Darling Buds of May. London: Michael Joseph, 1958. ———. Day’s End and Other Stories. London: Cape, 1928. ———. Fair Stood the Wind for France. London: Michael Joseph, 1944. ———. My Uncle Silas. London: Cape, 1939. ———. Seven by Five: Stories 1926–1961. London: Michael Joseph, 1963. ———. The Two Sisters. London: Cape, 1926. Flora, Joseph, ed. The English Short Story 1945–1980. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Andrew Maunder

“BEACH OF FALESÁ, THE” ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1892) “The Beach of Falesá” is a story of colonialism in the South Seas that shocked many of ROBERT LEWIS STEVENSON’s admirers when it was first published in the Illustrated London News (1892). It is related in the first person by British trader John Wiltshire, who is sent to the mission station of Falesá. Upon landing, he is introduced to other Britishers on the island: the drunken Captain Randall and Case, the principal trader on the island, who initially appears affable. Case suggests that Wiltshire take a native “wife” and picks out a likely girl, Uma. Wiltshire acquiesces and goes through the requisite sham marriage ceremony as practiced by whites in the region. He feels ashamed of such a travesty but is genuinely taken with Uma, as she is with him. Thereafter he settles down to business but is perturbed to find the islanders avoiding him, and he finally enlists Case’s help in finding out what they have against him. Case informs him that, while he is

not exactly tabooed, the natives harbor some kind of superstition about him. Case refuses to help him any further, and Wiltshire realizes that Case is quite happy with the situation, as it means he has a monopoly on trade on the island. Wiltshire finally extracts the whole truth from Uma: He is being shunned because Case has helped spread some unsavory rumors about her. Wiltshire thus realizes the trick Case has played on him, setting him up with a girl of whom the islanders are wary. At this point the missionary Tarleton arrives. Wiltshire meets with him to arrange a proper marriage ceremony for himself and Uma. Tarleton then proceeds to reveal how unscrupulous Case really is and how, by devious means, he has established great influence among the islanders and eliminated rivals in the past. Subsequently Wiltshire also learns that Case has instituted a kind of devil worship to keep the islanders in perpetual awe. He goes to see for himself and uncovers the paraphernalia with which Case beguiles the natives: an Aeolian harp, a luminous painted idol, and such items. Later he is agreeably surprised to find that Maea, one of the tribal chiefs, has come over to his side, having fallen out with Case over a girl. Heartened by this unexpected support, Wiltshire determines to expose Case as a fraud. This leads to a final conflict with Case in which Wiltshire, although wounded, stabs Case to death. Wiltshire is eventually moved to another station but remains in the South Seas, unable to return to England to fulfill his modest dream of running his own public house; although he evidently remains loyal to Uma and has children by her, he frets over their future as half-castes. In some ways, “The Beach of Falesá” reads like a typical colonial adventure tale, with a resourceful hero and wily villain, treachery, dark deeds by night, and a spectacular (and extremely violent) climax; all of this is set against a backdrop of tropical sunshine and beaches and dimly visible natives who, with the notable exception of Uma, do not really emerge as characters in their own right. But in many other ways this text is starkly different from the usual run of glamorous, exotic adventure stories much in vogue among the British reading public at that time. The most notorious aspect is its frankness about sex and miscegenation, and the paragraph concerning the illegal marriage of Wiltshire


and Uma was removed altogether when the story was first serialized (an act of censorship that infuriated Stevenson). The Europeans in the story are unflatteringly portrayed: the scheming Case, the ineffectual Tarleton, and the wholly degenerate Randall, who is described as being like some sort of hairy grey animal. All of this is filtered through the medium of Wiltshire, who, although he declares himself to be plainspoken, is of course being disingenuous to a degree: He is still keen to win the local struggle for mastery with Case, and in his account of the final confrontation he dehumanizes Case by referring to him more than once as a “brute” while appearing no less brutish himself in stabbing his adversary many more times than is necessary. Despite this ending, we also get a sense of Wiltshire’s basic decency. Although he evinces a familiar colonialist tendency to look down on the natives, the Kanakas, he genuinely cares for Uma and later for their children. She is not merely a beautiful woman, an exotic alien object but, as he fully acknowledges, a true friend, and his only friend in the place in the absence of any solidarity among the whites. At the same time it would be wrong to assume that, just because he is able and willing to expose the shady dealings of whites in the area, he has any unusual sympathy for the natives. He has limited horizons; his chief concern is simply to detail the business rivalries in the region and his own part in them. Unlike the tragic realism of JOSEPH CONRAD, or even of Stevenson’s own later story “THE EBB-TIDE,” there is no tragic awareness here, no percipient analysis of the human condition, nor even any of the systematic exploration of evil that characterizes some of Stevenson’s other works.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Linehan, Katherine Bailey. “Taking Up with Kanakas: Stevenson’s Complex Social Criticism in, ‘The Beach of Falesá,’ ” English Literature in Translation 1880–1920 33 (1990): 407–422. Menikoff, Barry. Robert Louis Stevenson and “The Beach of Falesá”: A Study in Victorian Publishing. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1984. Stevenson, Robert Louis. “The Beach of Falesá.” In South Seas Tales. Edited by Rosslyn Jolly. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Gurdip Panesar

“BEAST IN THE JUNGLE, THE” HENRY JAMES (1902) First published in HENRY JAMES’s 1902 collection, The Better Sort, “The Beast in the Jungle” is among the most anthologized of his short stories. Often read as a fable about failure, the tale of John Marcher is also seen as an internalized ghost story since the protagonist’s own fears haunt him. Ten years before the narrative begins, Marcher has met May Bartram near Pompeii on the day of a significant discovery, and he has told her he feels destined for something terrible. She inquires whether he has met the beast. When the story opens, the narrator has forgotten the specifics of this earlier encounter, but the sense that his life is going to be marked by a terrible event has remained with him. This secret creates a bond between the two, and May accepts his offer to watch with him for the manifestation of the beast. Circumstances bring them together in London: She has inherited money and can live independently. They fall into a habit of going out to the theater and dinner together and of talking with the verbal intimacy of spouses. He is at times aware that the arrangement benefits him more than it does her, but he convinces himself that he is not selfish in seeming to rob her of the ordinary womanly rewards, such as marriage and children, in life. May seems to know him and to understand his secret, as if she were the perfect angel in the house without being of his household. When May becomes ill and is obviously dying, Marcher finds that the irregularity of their attachment does not allow him to attend to—or even to visit—her, on whom he has come to depend. He spends the year after her death abroad, and on his return to London, he visits her grave. In the cemetery, he sees a man mourning for his dead wife, and here he encounters the beast. The grief Marcher sees brings the realization that he has failed: He, whose name suggests a military perseverance, had been a noncombatant in life. In trying to escape his fate, he had met it. Biographical critics read the story as a reworking of James’s mysterious friendship with the American novelist Constance Fenimore Woolson, whose letters James destroyed when she died in Venice, possibly a suicide. (He also destroyed his letters to her when he helped clear out her rooms.) Some biographical critics


see in the tale James’s fear of what he might have been, had he not acted on his belief in doing, in pursuing actively the challenges of living. Marcher is often classed with James’s artist-failures, unable to handle his medium, life. Other interpreters see the story as a covert expression of male homosexual panic. Marcher knows he is different, and the life he lives in public differs from the one he lives in private. When he realizes he should have desired May, he may be recognizing that he ought to have preferred women, as Eve Sedgwick argues. One might, however, argue that Marcher ought simply to have preferred something and found, rather than lost, his life.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Goodheart, Eugene. “What May Knew in ‘The Beast in the Jungle,’ ” Sewanee Review 61 (2003): 116–27. James, Henry. Complete Stories. New York: Library of America, 1996. Johnson, Courtney. “John Marcher and the Paradox of the ‘Unfortunate’ Fall,” Studies in Short Fiction 6 (1969): 121–35. Sedwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990. Karen Keck

BECKETT, SAMUEL (1906–1989) Samuel Barclay Beckett was born near Dublin, the second son of an upper-middle-class Protestant family. He was an outstanding student at Trinity College, where he specialized in romance literatures. During extended spells in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, Beckett became acquainted with JAMES JOYCE, whose influence is noticeable in Beckett’s early works, especially the collection of short stories More Pricks Than Kicks (1934). Beckett published his first novel, Murphy, in 1938, and he went on to redefine the possibilities of drama with such plays as Endgame (which many regard as his finest dramatic work), Krapp’s Last Tape, Happy Days, and Not I. He also created works specifically for radio, television, and film. Although more famous for his dramatic work, Beckett continued to produce challenging and experimental prose, for example, the short story “PING” (1966) and the “late trilogy” Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, and Worstward Ho (1980–83). Beckett won the Nobel Prize in 1969 for “his writing, which—in new

forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation.” He wrote and worked in the theater almost until his death in Paris in December 1989. Beckett has received possibly more critical attention than any other 20th-century writer due to his art’s enigmatic, difficult nature. Beckett’s work can seem pessimistic, as the figures in his texts are often physically decrepit and lost within a godless world that they cannot explain yet cannot leave; they must go on, creating fictions, playing games, bantering pointlessly, or just waiting. A humanistic perspective sees Beckett’s main concern as the expression of the human condition within an absurd universe, as many of his characters struggle to express their essential identity but are thwarted by the language they are condemned to use. Poststructuralist views of Beckett see a deconstruction of all forms of expression, revealing not an essential identity but a play of linguistic and textual forms revolving around an illusory core that gives rise to expression, but that (as nonexistent) can never be reached. That Beckett’s work can create such radically different interpretations is tribute to the questions it raises. Despite images and situations of despair, a rich vein of black humor evocatively blurs the distinction between tragedy and comedy. Beckett’s work in all genres and forms is one of ceaseless experimentation inspired by the beliefs that “form is content, content form” and that there is “nothing to express” yet the “obligation to express.” From the turn to first-person narration in “FIRST LOVE” (1946) to the cold, mathematically objective style of “The Lost Ones” (1970), it was in the short story that Beckett made some of his most radical formal attempts at the impossibility of expression.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Knowlson, James. Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett. London: Bloomsbury, 1996. Knowlson, James, and John Pilling, eds. Frescoes of the Skull: The Later Prose and Drama of Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove Press, 1979. Ricks, Christopher. Beckett’s Dying Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. Trezise, Thomas. Into the Breach: Samuel Beckett and the Ends of Literature. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990. Paul Stewart


“BELEAGUERED CITY, A” MARGARET OLIPHANT (1880) The first of MARGARET OLIPHANT’s popular series Stories of the Seen and Unseen, “A Beleaguered City” belongs to the subgenre of Victorian-era supernatural tales, such as CHARLES DICKENS’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. In “A Beleaguered City” Oliphant uses different narrators to give evidence about how the worldly and materialistic conduct of the inhabitants of the French town of Semur causes “the dead to rise from their graves” and take possession of the town. After darkness settles over the city, a mysterious force ushers the townspeople out of their homes and locks them outside the town walls. The reason for this evacuation is demonstrated early in the story: The people of Semur have made a god of money and neglected their religious responsibilities. But far from being a sentimental sermon, this novella thoughtfully explores contemporary debates between religion and science, spiritualism and materialism. The story’s most obvious spokesman for materialism is the vulgar Jacques Richard, who proclaims, “There is no bon Dieu but money.” But more interesting is Martin Dupin, the mayor of Semur and the story’s primary narrator, who does “not pretend, in these days of progress, to have retained” his religious faith. He too is a materialist, but he idolizes rationality and science. Reason proves an inadequate savior in this story, for the scientists cannot explain the spectral message that appears on the cathedral doors, and more important, the spirits do not reveal themselves to the avowedly rational characters. Thus, the mayor’s devout wife Agnes has a vision of their deceased daughter, Marie, but the secular Dupin is unable to communicate with the child himself. Likewise, the priest is humiliated to find that the spiritual world does not reveal itself to him but rather to the village “dreamer,” Lecamus. Yet the narrative does not fully endorse extreme spiritualism either and shows a distrust of fanatical religious feeling. Madame Veuve Dupin’s account of events leads the reader to regard Sister Mariette’s smile of calm resignation as a deficiency rather than a virtue—after all, the aged nun can disregard the material world only because she has no son or husband among the watchers. And even as the ghostly invasion of Semur seems

designed to challenge Dupin’s secularism and pull him toward religious faith, Dupin’s serving of the mass and triumphal Te Deum do not ultimately signal his full conversion. This novella can also be read as an allegory of interpretation. The supernatural event is inexplicable, so the entire community works to interpret it. Indeed, the text exists as Dupin’s official history of the city’s possession, and to that purpose he asks several other characters to add their accounts “to ensure a complete testimony.” Readers should note that rather than fill in the holes, the multiple narrators often give conflicting accounts that highlight the complex nature of interpretation. Dupin’s interpretive authority is initially undermined because he cannot explain or control these strange happenings, but his credibility is further damaged when the townspeople begin to suspect that the siege is a divine punishment for his refusal to allow the Sisters of St. Jean to say mass in the local hospital. Ultimately, the reader cannot accept Dupin’s rational account because even his own mother contradicts him by sympathizing with the sisters of St. Jean.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Oliphant, Margaret. A Beleagured City and Other Tales of the Seen and Unseen. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2000. Katherine Malon

“BISHOP’S LUNCH, THE” MICHÈLE ROBERTS (1993) “The Bishop’s Lunch” appears in During Mother’s Absence, a collection of MICHÈLE ROBERTS’s short stories that was first published in 1993. The collection may be considered an unofficial sequel to Roberts’s novel Daughters of the House (1992), which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and was awarded the W. H. Smith Literary Award. Like the novel, each story in During Mother’s Absence foregrounds maternal absence in a young woman’s life. The emphasis is placed not on the loss itself but on the way in which physical absence cannot sever the bond between mother and daughter. Michèle Roberts’s religious background is rooted firmly in Catholicism although as an adult she has rejected its formal structure, which was imposed upon her as a child. She often, however, invokes God and


religious themes within her work. These themes are contextualized within a feminist agenda and are used to expose the patriarchal values underpinning the foundations of Catholicism. “The Bishop’s Lunch” is the story of Sister Josephine of the Holy Face, a novice who is responsible for the kitchen duties at the convent. This includes preparing a banquet for the Bishop during his traditional visit on Easter Sunday. She knows the Bishop will expect a sumptuous feast much different from the nuns’ normal fare. Sister Josephine is no great cook and fears she will not be able to prepare the feast; her fears are alleviated when she opens her black notebook and finds that her mother has copied her family recipes into it. To obtain the necessary ingredients for the recipes, she must borrow the gardener’s shotgun as well as secretly raid the henhouse for eggs before they are sold. The nuns never connect these mysterious disappearances with the Bishop’s lunch, and Sister Josephine’s feast is considered a miracle. In this story, Roberts combines two of her most prevalent themes, food and God, while subtly demonstrating the lasting power of maternal influence. Initially, Sister Josephine is portrayed as having rejected her mother in favor of the Church. In fact, she is unhappy with her kitchen responsibilities because they remind her of her mother’s life. Josephine never learned to cook from her mother because she “hungered for transcendence, for the ecstasy of mystical union” (85) and was not interested in learning domestic chores. Yet these are the duties she is asked to perform at the convent. She appeals to God for assistance with her culinary dilemma, something she would not normally do as “God, being male, [is] above such trivia” (86), but it is her mother who answers her prayer. With her mother’s assistance, Sister Josephine performs an Easter miracle.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Plummer, Patricia. “Re-writing the House of Fiction: Michèle Roberts’s Daughters of the House.” In Engendering Realism and Postmodernism: Contemporary Women Writers in Britain, edited by Beate Neumeier, 63–85. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001. Roberts, Michèle. During Mother’s Absence. London: Virago, 1993.

Wandor, Michelene, ed. On Gender and Writing. London: Pandora Press, 1983. Sherah Wells

BIT ON THE SIDE, A WILLIAM TREVOR (2004) This recent collection by WILLIAM TREVOR appeared when he was 76 years old, and it has been suggested that the tone of the stories betrays Trevor’s age. A distaste for modern, superficial culture is apparent when characters complain (through free indirect speech) about the intrusion of modern music into the public sphere. In “Justina’s Priest,” Father Clohessy laments the playing of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” (perhaps the song’s message disturbs the representative of a declining church more than the loud music itself); the omniscient narrator of “Graillis’s Legacy” condemns the inanity of “a brash disc-jockey” who “pumped out his chatter before a cacophony began”; in “On the Streets,” a character feels that music in a bar sounds “more like a noise than anything else”; and Trevor’s contempt for the vapid “Musak that was playing, jazzy and sentimental” in the background of the title story is made clear through the choice of derogatory nouns and adjectives. Inevitably, the lives of many of Trevor’s contemporaries are coming to an end: Trevor’s enhanced awareness of mortality seems to manifest itself in the collection’s higher-than-usual quota of stories involving death. In the quietly gothic story “Sitting with the Dead,” two ghoulish old sisters spend much of their time visiting, without invitation, bereaved families accompanying corpses and their often lugubrious surviving spouses. Jackdaws (small crows) are deliberately slaughtered by a frustrated and slyly malevolent boarding school maid in “Traditions.” A more serious killing occurs in “On the Streets,” which tells of an impoverished breakfast waiter who outdoes a career of petty theft by stalking and then murdering a supercilious customer. In “Solitude,” a bourgeois family flees Britain and pays former domestic assistants to remain quiet about the inconvenient death of the mother’s illicit lover. And in the sarcastically titled “Big Bucks,” a young couple’s desire for a new life in America is motivated in part by the fact that some of the man’s relatives have died when carrying out the


only available work—fishing in the treacherous waters offshore. A sense of closure, then, dominates many of the stories. Closure comes to many of the adulterous relationships that, as ever, characterize companionate relationships in “Trevorland.” Trevor’s stories have often elicited sympathy for characters who pursue sexual affection outside of marriage. In “Graillis’s Legacy,” an adulterous affair has ended because the male character’s older lover has died; although aware that the woman has written him into her will to celebrate the limited time that they enjoyed together, he seeks to exclude himself legally from her will (through embarrassment or guilt?). An apparently interracial affair between Mrs. Bouvrie and Mr. Azam in “Rose Wept” ends because the woman’s aging husband will no longer work overtime to distract himself from his wife’s infidelity. In the collection’s concluding story—the title story—a different sort of life change causes the separation of two middle-aged lovers. The woman gets divorced, changing the whole tenor of the affair. The reader, inspired by the deceptively dismissive title, may cynically feel that the relationship has lost its illicit excitement for the male. But we are left in no doubt that there was an “intensity” to the affair, and both characters walk away proudly at the story’s end: Their affair was a secret and short-lived triumph, but a triumph nonetheless. While most of the stories involve narratives of closure and ending, the lasting impression from this title story and the collection as a whole is one of reasoned satisfaction: At least these characters were able to enjoy some amorous diversion, however ephemeral and retrospective these joys now seem.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Adair, Tom. “Return to Trevor-Trevor-Land,” review of A Bit on the Side. The Scotsman, 16 May 2004. Available online. URL: cfm?id=555572004. Accessed May 8, 2006. Fitzgerald-Holt, Mary. William Trevor: Re-imagining Ireland. Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2003, 173–189. Lee, Hermione. “Old Ireland, Far Hence,” review of A Bit on the Side. The Guardian, 12 June 2004. Available online. URL: story/0,,1236079,00.html. Accessed May 8, 2006.

Ormsby-Lennon, Hugh. Fools of Fiction: Reading the Fiction of William Trevor. Dublin: Maunsel and Co., 2004. Trevor, William. A Bit on the Side. London: Viking, 2004. Kevin De Ornellas

“BLACK VENUS” ANGELA CARTER (1980) This story was originally published in 1980 in the series Next Editions and was reprinted in 1984 in ANGELA CARTER’s collection Black Venus. The common concern of the stories gathered in this volume is the demystification of famous historical and/or literary figures who have become crystallized and canonized in the Western collective imagination (see also “The KISS”). “Black Venus” retells the story of Jeanne Duvall, Charles Baudelaire’s Creole mistress. Carter tries to rewrite history by shifting the focus from the iconic French author to a marginal figure, usually relegated to the footnotes of poetry books and of biographical studies on Baudelaire. Through her revisionist approach to the authorized version of history, Carter is obviously interested in exploring the relationship between fact and fiction and the reasons that Jeanne’s story has been easily silenced. The strong political agenda of “Black Venus” combines feminist and postcolonial concerns: Jeanne is doubly other and marginalized, because of both her gender and her ethnicity. However, in her attempt to give Jeanne a voice, Carter is careful to avoid speaking for her and turning her into a mere literary object or anecdotal curiosity. Carter’s solution to this quandary is the adoption of a self-conscious narrator, who explicitly mistrusts his or her, or indeed anybody’s, ability to tell Jeanne’s true story. This attitude is in striking discord with Baudelaire’s relationship with Jeanne, who was not only his mistress but also a source of inspiration and the subject of his cycle of poems titled “Black Venus.” Carter points out how Jeanne’s role as a muse to the great poet further confines her to silence and misrepresentation, since she is typecast as the exotic mistress who paradoxically combines both the innocence of her Edenic faraway land and the corruption of an unrestricted sensuality. While Jeanne complains that Baudelaire will not pay for hot water for her bath, the poet is prey to the romantic fallacy that the woman’s


sweat smells like cinnamon. Jeanne’s straightforward pragmatism is provocatively juxtaposed to Baudelaire’s self-absorbed idealism. Carter traces back the premises of this opposition to the conservative identification of man with culture and woman with nature, a model that is mentioned in the short story with ironic distance. The common Western image of the Caribbean as an unspoiled and desirable paradise is also challenged. Baudelaire’s clichéd perception of Jeanne’s homeland is rendered by Carter in the tones of a shallow and unsophisticated pop song. Baudelaire’s lofty, iconic status as the groundbreaking figure of French symbolism is further desecrated by the allusion to his squalid sugar daddy role. Jeanne, on her part, remains untouched by the poet’s rhetoric and his literary efforts (which are branded as “scribbling”), while recoiling in horror at the mere recollection of the widespread poverty of the colonies. Mockingly, the poet’s ennui, the existential boredom typical of the modern human condition that Baudelaire captured so suggestively in his writing, is translated rather prosaically into Jeanne’s mundane boredom. An even more demythologizing comment on the poet’s work is offered when Jeanne uses Baudelaire’s discarded manuscript to collect the ashes of her cheroot. At a first glance, the relationship between Baudelaire and Jeanne appears mutually exploitative, if grounded on a common feeling of alienation. However, Carter makes sure to emphasize that it is only Jeanne who is literally dispossessed and exiled, as well as economically dependent on her paramour. Jeanne’s subordination to Baudelaire is repeatedly foregrounded, perhaps nowhere more overtly than halfway through the story, when Carter grafts her creative reconstruction of the Creole mistress, about whom very little is known, onto a thin layer of factual information: Significantly, while Jeanne’s date of birth remains obscure, there is a clear, reliable record of when she first met the French poet. Yet the conclusion of the story departs from any historical accuracy. Although it is known that Jeanne died before Baudelaire, Carter, with typical black humor, represents her surviving her lover to return to the Caribbean, where she is able to open a brothel with the profits from the sale of the poet’s manuscripts. The closing

paragraph of the story is an ironic reference to the only legacy from Baudelaire that Jeanne is truly able to disseminate around the world: Short of circulating the poet’s writing, Jeanne “will continue to dispense, to the most privileged of the colonial administration, at a not excessive price, the veritable, the authentic, and the true Baudelairian syphilis.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carter, Angela. Black Venus. London: Chatto and Windus, 1985. Gamble, Sarah. Angela Carter: Writing from the Front Line. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. Matus, Jill, “Blonde, Black and Hottentot Venus: Context and Critique in Angela Carter’s ‘Black Venus’ ” In Angela Carter, edited by Alison Easton, 161–172. London: Macmillan, 2000. Schmid, Susanne. “ ‘Black Venus’—Jeanne Duval and Charles Baudelaire Revisited by Angela Carter.” Erfurt Electronic Studies in English (February 1997). Available online. URL: artic97/schmid/2_97.html, Accessed May 8, 2006. Stephania Ciocia

BLISS AND OTHER STORIES KATHERINE MANSFIELD (1920) The first important collection of KATHERINE MANSFIELD’s work and a touchstone for the MODERNIST short story. Bliss brought together stories composed from 1916 to 1919; at this time, Mansfield was living through the last years of the WORLD WAR I and traveling to France and Italy in the hope of curing the tuberculosis that would eventually kill her. Despite the upheaval in her life, this was a period of great productivity for her. The stories in Bliss share a number of common themes, exploring the nature of human personality and sexuality, alienation, loneliness, and malaise. The collection is characterized by a bitter sense of irony; a hard, clean style; and a Chekhovian psychological realism. It is also notable for Mansfield’s experimentation with narration. The stories in Bliss include “Prelude,” “JE NE PARLE PAS FRANÇAIS,” “Bliss,” “The Wind Blows,” “Psychology,” “PICTURES,” “The Man without a Temperament,” “Mr. Reginald Peacock’s Day,” “Sun and Moon,” “Feuille d’Album,” “A Dill Pickle,” “The Little Governess,” “Revelations,” and “The Escape.” “Prelude” was first pub-


lished in 1917 by Leonard and VIRGINIA WOOLF’s Hogarth Press and went generally unnoticed, although it is now considered one of Mansfield’s finest stories. “Je ne parle pas français” was published privately by John Middleton Murry, Mansfield’s husband, in 1918. In 1919 “Bliss” was published in The English Review and “Pictures” and “The Man without a Temperament” in Art and Letters. In 1919 Grant Richards expressed interest in publishing a collection of Mansfield’s stories, but Murry interceded and contacted Michael Sadleir of the publishing firm Constable, who would pay more for the collection. Mansfield read proofs for the publication while in a sanatorium in Italy, and the book was released in 1920. She believed Bliss for the most part to be trivial, but it was well reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, the Athenaeum, and the Observer and sold quite well (4,000 copies in 1920–21). Sadleir submitted the collection for the Femina-Vie Heureuse prize, for which it placed third. According to the jacket blurb, “In theme, in mordant humor, and in keen realistic outlook, she [Mansfield] is the nearest thing to the modern Russian story writers and to de Maupassant that England has produced. . . . The stories have a wry chic, and tell, with a cruel and detached irony, of sorrows and of sudden brutal joys.” In their depiction of “moments of being,” the stories represent the height of the genre in modernism and reveal, as many reviewers noted, the influence of Anton Chekhov and OSCAR WILDE and a representation of psychology indebted to Sigmund Freud. Mansfield’s interest in psychology is evident in stories like “The Man without a Temperament.” Critics have seen a biographical origin in this text coming from her relationship with Murry during her illness; he was quite pained by the character of Robert, a husband traveling with an invalid wife and seeking to fulfill her needs while sublimating his resentment at being taken from his own life in England. The story flashes back to moments in their marriage when she was well and vibrant, and it juxtaposes scenes of their static existence abroad to show how illness has trapped them both. Robert’s position is ambiguous, as the reader is never certain of the extent of his resentment. The narration never allows us inside the man’s head, and we are left to draw conclusions from the moments Mans-

field presents: a tired woman insisting her husband go for a walk without her while other guests sneer at his passivity, a final scene where she asks him if he truly minds being away with her, only to hear him say, “Rot.” The story is notable for its sense of stasis, of entrapment, and of the alienation between two people in a stifling intimacy. Other stories similarly explore psychology with more of Mansfield’s characteristic satire. “Bliss” shows a series of revelations on the part of Bertha Young, who first realizes her own attraction to her husband only to discover his adulterous affair. “Psychology” intertwines a satire of intellectuals who delight in conversations about philosophy and literature while failing to understand and communicate their own feelings for each other. In this story, the narration is focalized through the alternating point of view of a man and a woman who meet regularly for conversation. The plot consists of a series of moments when they realize their feelings for one another, but their own desires and needs are so frightening that each retreats into empty discussion of “psychological literature.” The irony of the story lies in their professing to understand psychology while failing to understand their own psychology and that of their companions. Mansfield’s satire comes to the fore in “Mr. Reginald Peacock’s Day.” In this story, a singing teacher imagines himself as an artist who is irresistible to his female pupils. The reality of his existence is revealed through his relationship to his wife, who, in his mind, fails to treat him as the artist he really is. The banality of his marriage and everyday life is juxtaposed with a vision of himself that is shown to be ludicrous. Here Mansfield seems to be making a particular comment on the nature of the artist and the impossible tension between the way one views oneself and the truth of one’s own life. A similar irony is present in “Pictures,” the story of an aging singer who believes herself still capable of performing. She travels from agency to agency, fantasizing about being discovered, only to wind up in a café going home with a middle-aged man; we are left to assume that she will have sex with him for money, the only recourse left to her. This portrayal of the isolated, alienated woman and the possibility of deviance in human sexuality is also


very much a part of “The Little Governess.” Here, a young girl is traveling to Germany for her first job as a governess. She is exhorted by her agency to be wary of strangers, and her position as a young woman alone is shown to be a dangerous one. An old man takes an interest in her that she believes to be benevolent, and he offers to protect her and show her around the city where she is to meet her future employer. The old man’s purpose, however, is to engage her sexually, and she flees back to her hotel, only to discover that her employer has already been there looking for her. She is left alone in a strange land, and the reader must suppose that further victimization is imminent. “The Little Governess” has much in common with “Je ne parle pas français,” in which another young woman is abandoned and faced with sexual predation. These stories, like “Bliss,” are notable for their frank depiction of sexuality, in terms of both desire and depravity. “Prelude,” a story that has garnered much critical attention for its depiction of sexuality, for its postcolonial aspects, and for its symbolism, is possibly the most significant text in the collection. One of Mansfield’s New Zealand stories, it forms, with other texts like “At the Bay” and “The Doll’s House” that draw on her childhood, a bildungsroman, portraying a child’s coming to awareness of sex and mortality. The story is focalized varyingly through the child Kezia, based on Mansfield herself, and through her parents, Linda and Stanley Burnell. The plot is the family’s move to a larger and better house, indicating their upward class mobility. At the same time, Linda is revealed to be pregnant, an outward manifestation of her husband’s physicality and what she perceives as his overwhelming desire. Her dislike of sex and her children, indeed of her own body, is symbolized by an aloe that grows in the yard of the house and the violent animal imagery that permeates the story. Kezia is only dimly aware of these feelings, but they are revealed to be part of her growing consciousness as the story progresses. The theme of alienation, the awareness of psychology, and the exploration of sexuality that made Bliss so worthy of attention upon its publication in 1920 has also made it a key text of modernism, and critics continue to find Mansfield’s considerations of gender, exile, and the unconscious seminal to discussions of that era.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alpers, Antony. The Life of Katherine Mansfield. New York: Viking, 1980. Kaplan, Sydney Janet. Katherine Mansfield and the Origins of Modernist Fiction. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991. Kobler, J. F. Katherine Mansfield: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Mansfield, Katherine. Bliss and Other Stories. London: Bloomsbury, 1994. Nathan, Rhoda, ed. Critical Essays on Katherine Mansfield. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993. Robinson, Roger, ed. Katherine Mansfield: In from the Margin. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997. Scott, Bonnie Kime. Refiguring Modernism. 2 vols. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. Janine Utell

BLOOD JANICE GALLOWAY (1991) The first collection of stories by JANICE GALLOWAY comprises 25 stories, apparently self-contained but all interlinked by a manifest coherence of style and imagery and the anecdotal surface of their plots: The various episodes and situations are told through a visceral style, vivid imagery, and a surreal cinematic perspective that inevitably distorts everyday situations into exquisitely grotesque scenarios. The collection received significant critical attention and acclaim: Short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize, People’s Prize, and Saltire Award, the volume was also a New York Times Book of the Year. Mundane rituals—such as the routine visit of an anonymous “Health Visitor” to an equally nameless “Old Woman” in “Scenes from the Life No. 26: The Community and the Senior Citizen” or the dentist’s appointment in “Blood”—are the raw material Galloway starts from to carve extraordinary stories that palpitate with the emotionally charged characters’ experiences. An apparently ordinary situation typically hides sinister elements of veiled danger, permanent damage, or worse, death. The victims are often harmless recipients of the inexplicable reactions of family members, partners, and close relations, as in “Scenes from the Life No. 23: Paternal Advice” and the last, and longest, story of the collection, “A Week with Uncle Felix.” In the first of the two stories, written in the concise style of a script, a father deliberately allows his


baby to fall on the floor from a fireplace to teach his son a lesson: Trust no one. The paternal bond accentuated by the names given to the characters—Sammy and Wee Sammy—is violently distorted. More subtly, in the second story, a disturbing relationship develops between the apparently emotionless 11-year-old Senga and her paternal uncle Felix. The uncanny episodes at the core of the stories from the collection all reveal Galloway’s intent to unmask the illusion of tranquillity given by familiar, homely, and domestic settings, in order to reveal the dark undercurrents running through characters’ everyday lives and their dysfunctional relationships. In “Love in a Changing Environment,” the negative evolution of the relationship between the two unnamed characters is cleverly observed through the near magical realist setting of the story. A surreal atmosphere created by the scented warmth of the bakery above which the couple live reflects the happy stage of their emotional and sexual liaison; both rapidly fade when a change of ownership transforms the bakery into a butcher’s shop: The acrid smell of organic decay accelerates the friction and, ultimately, the envisaged end of their relationship. Human relationships are the object of Galloway’s acute investigation; taboos and prejudice are equally laid bare. Behind the typically unsatisfying bonds is the inability to communicate between man and woman, mother and daughter, teacher and pupil. “David,” a short story about a teacher’s quick one-night stand with a pupil, explores the uncontrollable power of boundless passions, challenging moral etiquette and gender stereotypes in an accurate portrait of female eroticism. Elsewhere, strong, traumatic emotions transpose ordinary experience into a horrifying nightmare. The imagery employed in the opening section of “Blood” escalates a tooth extraction to a much more traumatic violation of the woman’s body, a sinister motif reinforced by the recurring blood imagery and the gory ending. Physical and emotional scars, complemented by traumatic visions and, at times, surreal hallucinations, all contribute to the unsettling mood shared by all the stories in the collection. Exploring life beyond the precarious facade of social conventions, moral codes, and,

generally, clichés of a modern Scottish society, the stories often suggest unexpected nuances even in the fragmented sketches of “Scenes from Life No. 29: Dianne,” “It Was,” “The Meat,” and “Nightdriving.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Galloway, Janice. Blood. London: Cape, 1991. Monica Germana

BLOODY CHAMBER, THE ANGELA CARTER (1979) The Bloody Chamber collects 10 of ANGELA CARTER’s short stories, linked by their common source material, familiar tales from the folk tradition including “Bluebeard,” “Snow White,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “PUSS IN BOOTS,” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” As the volume’s title suggests, in Carter’s hands these tales often bear little resemblance to the generally tamer versions best known to contemporary readers and moviegoers. The combination of sex and violence implied by The Bloody Chamber gestures back to the often gruesome nature of the ancient oral tales that began to enter the literary realm only when they were gathered and recorded by such early folklorists as Charles Perrault and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The title also highlights some of the other kinds of narratives informing Carter’s tales: the gothic fictions of writers such as Poe, Hoffman, and LEFANU and, most controversially, the pornographic writings of the Marquis de Sade. Carter’s interest in fairy tales was an abiding one, evident throughout her body of fictional writing for both adults and children, and even more so in her work as an editor and translator, which yielded The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault (1977), Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales (1982), The VIRAGO BOOK OF FAIRY TALES (1990), and The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1992). As she wrote in the preface to her edition of Perrault, these old tales represent “the great mass of infinitely various narrative that was, once upon a time and still is, sometimes, passed on and disseminated through the world by word of mouth—stories without known originators that can be remade again and again by every person who tells them.” However, Carter had little interest in fairy tales as vehicles for mere fantasy and escapism. In an interview with John


Haffenden published in 1985, Carter abruptly and comically dispatched Hans Christian Anderson and J. R. R. Tolkien with his “horns of elfland faintly blowing,” arguing that “too much imaginative richness makes Jack a dull boy; and no good at killing giants” Carter’s tales are not about escape but about confrontation and critique. In her afterword to Fireworks (1974), she praised the tale for its unsettling, antimimetic qualities, which—unlike the more realistic tendencies of the short story—prevent readers from discovering in it “a false knowledge of everyday experience” (122). The Bloody Chamber appeared in the same year as Carter’s controversial polemic The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography, which was her contribution to a deeply divisive debate among feminist thinkers at the time on the subject of pornography. In a phrase that became notorious, she envisioned a “moral pornographer” who “might use pornography as a critique of current relations between the sexes” (20–21). Carter regarded Sade as a “terrorist of the imagination” whose shocking representations of sexual cruelty made glaringly apparent the power imbalance underlying both the sexual and the broader social relations between men and women in his society. Fairy tales, too, reflect the unequal relations of power brought to light by Sade and so afforded Carter the opportunity to engage in some imaginative terrorism of her own. Marriages of young maidens to handsome princes are to be found in her collection, but Carter’s tales leave little of the more accustomed romantic idealism intact. Marital relationships in The Bloody Chamber tend to involve negotiations between unequal partners. The title story, for instance, is Carter’s version of “Bluebeard,” but her revised title shifts attention from the monstrous groom to both his chamber of horrors and the marital chamber into which he brings his bride, an innocent who married not for love but to “banish the spectre of poverty from its habitual place at our meagre table.” Her husband, the Marquis, receives in turn her eroticized virginity in an exchange whose imbalance of power is signified by his wedding gift, “a choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat.” This theme of patriarchal marriage as an economic exchange involving unequal partners is picked up

again in the collection’s two versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” “The COURTSHIP OF MR. LYON” and “The Tiger’s Bride.” Carter described these tales as a partial response to Bruno Bettelheim, author of the landmark study The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1976), who viewed “Beauty and the Beast” in a positive light, as an account of a young woman transferring her emotional attachment from father to lover. In her tales, Carter is keen to highlight the economic underpinnings of this transfer, as Beauty becomes a commodity exchanged between a debtor father and a creditor Beast. However, such limiting patriarchal constructions of the feminine are not shown here to be inescapable. Although “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” ends with Beauty having been manipulated into accepting the role of the bourgeois Mrs. Lyon, “The Tiger’s Bride” ends very differently, with the unnamed Beauty figure embracing her own bestial nature, refusing the status of victim and engaging with the Beast as a lustful equal—a pattern that recurs in “The COMPANY OF WOLVES,” Carter’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” For many of Carter’s readers, The Bloody Chamber marks a pivotal point in her career, standing between the incisive feminist and postmodern critiques of her earlier work and the yoking of that critical approach to the new narrative exuberance and playfulness so obviously present in her final novels, Nights at the Circus (1984) and Wise Children (1991). Certainly, the volume that led one commentator to nominate Carter the “high priestess of post-graduate porn” (Bristow and Broughton, 1) cemented her reputation as a bold explorer of our common cultural inheritance who takes the familiar and renders it strange and startling.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bacchilega, Cristina. Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. Bristow, Joseph, and Trev Lynn Broughton, eds. The Informal Desires of Angela Carter. London: Longman, 1997. Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. London: Gollancz, 1979. ———. Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces. London: Quaitet, 1977.


———. The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography. London: Virago, 1979. Hafferden, John. Novelists in Interview. London: Methuen, 1985. Roemer, Danielle M., and Cristina Bacchilega, eds. Angela Carter and the Fairy Tale. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998. Brian Patton

“BLUE CROSS, THE” G. K. CHESTERTON (1910) “The Blue Cross” appeared in The Storyteller magazine in September 1910 and heralded the first appearance of G. K. CHESTERTON’s most famous and enduring creation, Father Brown. The story, and the five further stories that followed at monthly intervals, were combined with six more Father Brown stories that appeared in Casell’s Magazine to create The Innocence of Father Brown in July 1911. Because of the popularity of the stories, the publication of The Innocence of Father Brown was widely anticipated, and it received gracious reviews. Negative criticism focused on the inability of the character of Father Brown to support an anthology of stories. Many critics have identified a lack of consistency in the character across a number of stories, and others have criticized the stories for their perceived lack of substance. However, the popularity of the first collection ensured that Father Brown continued for a further 37 stories, providing Chesterton with an enduring and profitable character. Father Brown never received the literary or creative recognition afforded to Edgar Allan Poe’s or Arthur Conan Doyle’s detectives, but during the early 1900s he was considered second only to Sherlock Holmes. The adaptation of “The Blue Cross” into the 1954 film with Sir Alec Guinness as Father Brown and the mid-1970s TV series ensured that the character’s influence was felt by modern detectives such as Columbo and Father Dowling. If detectives are “identified by their methodologies or approaches” (Kayman, 44), as Martin A. Kayman claims, Father Brown’s unique and unusual style of detection makes him a very distinctive detective. There are two principles that simply but effectively distinguish Father Brown from other detectives: Father Brown is an invisible and innocuous figure, and he has an innocent knowledge afforded by his role as a priest.

A reader could be forgiven for thinking that “The Blue Cross” introduces a cynical and flawed French detective rather than Chesterton’s innocuous priest detective. The narrative follows Valentin, the chief of Paris Police and “the most famous investigator of the world,” as he tracks Flambeau, the bold and daring “colossus of crime.” At the crucial moment of capture, after Valentin has followed Flambeau by a number of unusual clues, it is revealed that another detective figure, Father Brown, has outsleuthed Valentin and, without prior knowledge of Flambeau’s criminal behavior, has anticipated and thwarted the villain’s crime. Unlike Holmes or Poirot, Father Brown is not a pretentious or ostentatious great detective. Instead, he is a scruffy, overlooked, and underestimated priest. He is introduced at the beginning of the story as a subject for pity. Valentin describes him as having “a face as round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling” and “eyes as empty as the North Sea” (2001, 5). Yet his appearance and vocation causes Flambeau to underestimate him, allowing Father Brown to leave outrageous clues for Valentin to follow and to ascertain the true nature of Flambeau’s criminal intentions by testing his tolerance. Father Brown reasons that an innocent man would express annoyance if he found salt in his coffee and express outrage when overcharged, while a man with something to hide would not. When Flambeau drinks his salty coffee and pays an exorbitant bill, Father Brown knows something is wrong, manages to identify Flambeau’s technique for theft, and uses it against him. Because Father Brown has remained so inconspicuous, when he reveals his denouement Flambeau is left “stunned with the utmost curiosity” (2001, 25). Flambeau’s astonishment turns to disbelief when Father Brown reveals what Joseph Pearce has termed his “innocent wisdom” (2001, 92). While Father Brown initially knows nothing of Flambeau’s criminal plot, he displays an intuition for criminal behavior. Father Brown explains, “Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but hear men’s real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil?” (2001, 25–26). In his autobiography, Chesterton provides an explanation for the origin of “The Blue Cross,” the Father Brown character, and in particular, the concept of innocent wisdom. Chesterton describes his surprise


that his friend, Father O’Connor, should have a more detailed knowledge of criminal behavior than he, because the generally accepted opinion of priests was that they knew nothing of real-world transgressions. In Chesterton’s own words, “That the Catholic Church knew more about good than I did was easy to believe. That she knew more about evil than I did seemed incredible” (1937, 328). When enlightened on a point of vice and crime by Father O’Connor, Chesterton describes a “curious experience to find that this quiet and pleasant celibate had plumbed those abysses far deeper than I” (1937, 326). What ultimately distinguishes Father Brown from other detectives is not his religion but the benefits his religion affords him. Through the practice of reason that he considers essential to theology and the personal experience of confession that provides intimate knowledge at a distance, Father Brown is able successfully to reconcile intuition and reason. Consequently, Father Brown predicts and manipulates both the criminal and the detective but does so unobtrusively. Similarly, the stories themselves are distinctive by not being unusual. There are no razor-wielding orangutans or pigmy assassins. Crimes, when they do take place in a Father Brown story, have the most commonplace explanation but often the least-expected outcome. In “The Blue Cross” Chesterton introduces an ingenious and plausible detective in a tale that is no less amazing because it is so easily comprehendible. See also “The SECRET GARDEN” and “The HAMMER OF GOD.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chesterton, G. K. Autobiography. London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1937. ———. The Best of Father Brown. London: Dent, 1987. ———. Father Brown. London: Penguin, 2001. Coren, Michael. Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton. London: Cape, 1989. Father Brown (1954). Directed by Robert Hamer. Written by Thelma Schnee and Robert Hamer. Columbia Pictures, 1954. Pearce, Joseph. Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996. Sullivan, John, ed. G. K. Chesterton: A Contemporary Appraisal. London: Paul Elek, 1974. Tony Garland

“BLUSH, THE” ELIZABETH TAYLOR (1958) First published in the New Yorker and collected in The Blush and Other Stories, this is perhaps ELIZABETH TAYLOR’s most anthologized short story. A. S. BYATT included it in the Oxford Book of English Short Stories (1998), and it was also selected by Patricia Craig for The Oxford Book of Modern Women’s Stories (1994). “The Blush” centers on Mrs. Allen, a childless uppermiddle-class woman in a village outside London. The lonely, betrayed protagonist is soul sister to many other isolated characters in Taylor’s work. Her final revelation of her own ignorance and the capacity in others to deceive is one of the most powerfully realized moments in Taylor’s fiction. “The Blush” is also a feminist exploration of women’s roles in 1950s England, a portrayal that is informed by social class as well. In “The Blush,” Taylor subtly negotiates the boundaries between gender and class from the first sentence: “They were the same age—Mrs. Allen and the woman who came every day to do the housework.” The two women are thus overtly compared from the outset, and Mrs. Allen continues throughout the story to see her life in relation to that of Mrs. Lacey, her charwoman. The first issue between the women is introduced in this initial sentence: work. Mrs. Allen is a wealthy woman of leisure, and Mrs. Lacey is the woman she hires to perform her traditionally female work. However, the issue of labor is not quite so simple, it turns out: Mrs. Allen “listened—as they worked together in the kitchen—to Mrs. Lacey’s troubles with her family.” The two women in fact often work side by side in Mr. Allen’s home, female laborers maintaining its order and beauty. They are, in a sense, close, having worked together in the Allen home for many years. Although Mrs. Allen is critical of Mrs. Lacey’s rebellious children, the childless woman also defends her housecleaner from the gardener’s snide criticisms: “ ‘She works hard, and deserves a little pleasure—she has her anxieties,’ said Mrs. Allen, who, alas, had none.” That Mrs. Allen has no anxiety—that she has, in particular, no children—is the crux of the story. In this sense, the tale is about another kind of labor, both giving birth itself and the work of raising children, about pain and joy missed. The second sentence of the


story introduces this element: “ ‘I shall never have children now,’ Mrs. Allen had begun to tell herself. Something had not come true; the essential part of her life.” While Mrs. Allen imagines “her children in fleeting scenes and intimations,” she listens, over the years, to Mrs. Lacey’s catalog of her difficulties with her children, “grumblings about her grown-up son who would not get up till dinner-time on Sundays . . . the adolescent girl who moped and glowered and answered back.” Mrs. Lacey is rumored in the village to have done “all too little” for her children when they were young: “The children, one night after another, for years and years, had had to run out for parcels of fish and chips while their mother sat in The Horse & Jockey drinking brown ale.” Mrs. Allen herself is usually alone, but when she goes out, she sips sherry at the Chequers, where “no one ever sat down, but stood and sipped and chatted as at a cocktail-party, and luncheons and dinners were served, which made it so much more respectable: no children hung about outside, because they were all at home with their Nannies.” While Taylor depicts the poignancy of the blowsy Mrs. Lacey’s children waiting outside the Horse & Jockey, where they “pressed their foreheads to the window and looked in at the dark little bar,” Taylor also implicitly comments on the ease of the middle-class mothers’ lives, with their children “at home with their Nannies.” The pain of Mrs. Allen’s life lies in her gradual awareness that she is wasting her time waiting for life to begin—in the larger sense, for children who will not be born, but more insistently for her husband to return from the many evenings when he “was kept late in London”: “She knew that it was a wasteful way of spending her years—and looking back, she was unable to tell one of them from another—but she could not think what else she might do. Humphrey kept on earning more and more money and there was no stopping him now.” Mrs. Allen’s Christian name is, significantly, Ruth. She is the dutiful wife who has been, like her biblical forerunner, the dutiful daughter: “Whither soever thou goest, I also shall go.” In Taylor’s quietly dark story, the ideal of female patience and loyalty is called into question, exposed as the male-constructed social ideal that it is.

Ruth Allen is certain she knows her successful husband’s tastes, however, and she is willing to garden and clean and walk the dog—and wait for him to come home. She is especially glad that the respectable, class-conscious Humphrey Allen has not met the “slackly corseted” Mrs. Lacey, with “her orange hair and bright lips and the floral patterns that she always wore.” She is worried about what he might think: “Her relationship with Mrs. Lacey and the intimacy of their conversations in the kitchen he would not have approved, and the sight of those calloused feet with their chipped nail-varnish and yellowing heels would have sickened him.” Mrs. Allen’s world is rudely shaken, however, by two events. First, Mrs. Lacey tells her that she is pregnant again: “Mrs. Allen felt stunned and antagonistic. ‘Surely not at your age,’ she said crossly.” Then the much older Mr. Lacey, “quite ageless, a crooked, bowlegged little man who might have been a jockey once,” confronts Mrs. Allen at her home demanding that she stop asking Mrs. Lacey to babysit every night so that she and her husband can attend cocktail parties. Mrs. Allen is mystified. She feels “at sea” and “perilously near a barbarous, unknown shore and was afraid to make any movement towards it.” Mr. Lacey continues his tirade: “ ‘I’m boiling over some nights. Once I nearly rushed out when I heard the car stop down the road. I wanted to tell your husband what I thought of you both.’ ” Mrs. Allen knows that she has not asked Mrs. Lacey to babysit and makes the connection between her husband’s absences and Mrs. Lacey’s lies. The story ends with Mrs. Allen promising the deluded Mr. Lacey that she will not ask his wife to babysit for her again at night. It is not clear whether she is simply stunned, or whether she is protecting herself, her husband, Mr. Lacey, or even Mrs. Lacey. After Mr. Lacey bicycles away from the house, Ruth Allen’s body registers the shameful realization of her own husband’s betrayal: “Then she felt herself beginning to blush. She was glad that she was alone, for she could feel her face, her throat, even the tops of her arms burning, and she went over to a looking-glass and studied with great interest this strange phenomenon.” The blush expresses on the body her deep embarrassment at her ignorance of her husband’s sordid liaison with her own housecleaner.


This union now promises to give the prolific Mrs. Lacey yet another child—this time, a child of Humphrey Allen’s, the child Ruth Allen has been denied. Indeed, although Mrs. Lacey is rumoured to be promiscuous, it is even possible that all of Mrs. Lacey’s children have been fathered by Mr. Allen while he denies children to his yearning wife. It is difficult to tell how deep the betrayal and the sense of evil are in this situation, and for Mrs. Lacey, it is inflected by class bitterness as well: “She was an envious woman: she envied Mrs. Allen her pretty house and her clothes.” Since all the years of Ruth Allen’s waiting have become blurred—“looking back, she was unable to tell one of them from another”—we cannot discern the temporal boundaries of her betrayal. Oddly, however, Mrs. Allen’s blush also seems empowering. While blushes throughout English literature signal female modesty, Ruth Allen’s blush seems to be a marker of a more complex reaction. Although the blush manifests her shame, it also seems to be a liberating release, perhaps the sign of sexual desires long repressed. Ruth wants to see this roseate glow in the mirror and almost scientifically “studied with great interest this strange phenomenon.” She seems to have recognized that she is part of the animal kingdom, and her observation of the blush is empirical. Mrs. Allen’s rosy display issues from her revelation of sexual knowledge; the “burning” that spreads across her face, throat, and even arms seems sexual, even orgasmic. She has fallen from innocence, and her fallenness is marked by the scarlet ruddiness of her body. Even in the midst of her shame, she seems fascinated with her body’s power, reflected back to her in the looking glass, and this final mirror image may suggest a new identity for Ruth Allen. Her promise to Mr. Lacey that his wife will not be going out at night on her employers’ behalf suggests an imminent confrontation with Mr. Allen that might well end his trysts. Perhaps Mrs. Allen’s blush is the harbinger of a new life in which the demands of her own body will be recognized—a life in which she will no longer wait for her prince to come.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Taylor, Elizabeth. The Blush. London: Peter Davies, 1958. Deborah Deneholz Morse

BOWEN, ELIZABETH (1899–1973) Born in Dublin, the daughter of a long-established Anglo-Irish family, Elizabeth Bowen spent her time shuttling between the family’s ancestral home, Bowen’s Court in Kildorrey, County Cork, and London, where she worked during WORLD WAR II. Bowen described herself as “a writer for whom places loom large,” a quality inspired perhaps by the early deaths of her parents and the peripatetic existence she led as a child and young adult. The careful evocation of place is most apparent in the early novel The Hotel (1927); in The Last September (1929), which features a portrait of the Bowen home; and in her most famous novel, The Heat of the Day (1949), set in the London blitz. London in wartime is also the setting of her most anthologized short stories, “MYSTERIOUS KOR,” “The DEMON LOVER,” and “In the Square.” Alongside its emphasis on loneliness and family breakup, Bowen’s work is characterized by a focus on the upper and middle classes, people whose seemingly secure lives, based on restraint and good manners, are suddenly put under threat. Bowen was interested in what she termed “the cracks in the surface of life,” something that is apparent in her short stories, notably “Summer Night” and “A Love Story.” These deal with characters whose ordered lives are disrupted by the unexpected emergence of passion, which they struggle to suppress. Others have supernatural elements; notably, “Foothold” (1929), “The Cat Jumps” (1929), and “The Apple Tree” (1931) combine uncanny or ghostly elements with a modern setting. One of Bowen’s final collections, A Day in the Dark and Other Stories (1965), contains a short essay in which Bowen reviews the use of supernatural tropes in her own work. This essay is one of a number of pieces which Bowen wrote about the short story as a genre. The most extensive of these is her introduction to the Faber Book of Modern Stories (1937), in which she called for “poetic tautness and clarity” and suggested its affinities with the cinema: “neither sponsored by a tradition. . . . [B]oth, still, are self-conscious, show a self-imposed discipline and regard for form.” (7). (See also “The NEEDLECASE.”) BIBLIOGRAPHY Bowen, Elizabeth. Ann Lee’s and Other Stories. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1926.


———. Collected Stories. London: Cape, 1980. ———. The Demon Lover and Other Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 1945. Published as Ivy Gripped the Steps. ———, ed. The Faber Book of Modern Short Stories. London: Faber, 1937. ———. Joining Charles and Other Stories. London; Constable, 1929. Glendinning, Victoria. Elizabeth Bowen. London: Weidenfeld, 1977. Hoogland, Renée. Elizabeth Bowen. New York: New York University Press, 1994. Lee, Hermione. Elizabeth Bowen. London: Vintage, 1995. Andrew Maunder

“BOWMEN, THE” ARTHUR MACHEN (1914) “The Bowmen” first appeared in the Evening News (London) on September 29, 1914. Set in WORLD WAR I, this supernatural tale recounts a fictional battle between British and German soldiers. The British forces are on the verge of suffering a crushing defeat. Their numbers have been reduced by half. In a desperate moment, a British soldier appeals to St. George, using a motto he recalls from the plates of a vegetarian restaurant he once frequented: “Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius” (“St. George help the English”). The plea conjures up a ghostly army of bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt—King Henry V’s famous English victory over the French, immortalized in Shakespeare’s play Henry V (1599)—and, in a short time, with the help of this heavenly host, the British soldiers defeat a 10,000-strong German army. Because the dead German soldiers have no wounds, the Germans conclude that the British used poisonous gas during the battle. Though inspired by the accounts of the real-life Battle of Mons of August 1914, the supernatural aspects of the story, ARTHUR MACHEN insisted, were entirely fictional. The story was a “composite,” he said in the introduction to the tale, of the legendary notion of spiritual intervention in wartime, of RUDYARD KIPLING’s story of a ghostly regiment (“The Lost Legion”), and of Machen’s interests in medievalism (296). Still, the reportorial style of the narrative convinced many that the story was true. In the year following its publication it attracted wide interest and controversy. Numerous “real-life” accounts corrobo-

rating the story began to circulate, including those of military officers, soldiers, and battlefield nurses. Theosophists wrote books and preachers preached sermons on the subject and, within a short time, the story was popularized as the legend of “the Angels of Mons,” a title under which the tale sometimes appears. In August 1915 “The Bowmen” was issued in book form along with similar tales by Machen in order to capitalize on the interest generated by the legend. Spurred by the ongoing controversy, the book sold 3,000 copies in the first day, 50,000 in three months, and 100,000 in a year and was translated into six languages. Though it was Machen’s most successful work, he reaped no financial benefits from it as the rights to it were owned by the Evening News. The story is slight in itself. Machen said of it that he “had failed in the art of letters” but “succeeded, unwittingly, in the art of deceit” (297). Its importance lies not in its artistic merits but in what it reveals about the mindset of the British nation during World War I. The tale provided consolation and hope to a public terrified at the unexpected toll the war was exacting on its nation. Despite the materialist and industrialist character of the age, the British people were not immune to a belief in the miraculous. Indeed, as Adrian Eckersley has argued, “The Bowmen” reveals “the tensions under which the credulous and incredulous confronted one another in this era of materialism, when scientists were often appalled at the sheer inhuman mechanism of the cosmos they envisioned and religion became a counterweight and comfort against the inhumanity of their vision” (222).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Clarke, David. “Rumours of Angels: A Legend of the First World War,” Folklore (October 2002). Available online. URL: is_2_113/ai_95107633. Accessed May 8, 2006. Eckersley, Adrian. “Arthur Machen.” In Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 156, British Short-Fiction Writers, 1880–1914: The Romantic Tradition, edited by William F. Naufftus, 216–224. New York: Gale, 1996. Machen, Arthur. “The Bowmen.” In The Collected Arthur Machen, edited by Christopher Palmer, 295–302. London: Duckworth, 1988. Kristen MacLeod


BOYD, WILLIAM (1952– )

William Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1952 to English parents, who were then dispatched in Africa. According to the author himself in his book Protobiography (2005), his childhood and early adolescence were marked by airports and flights to Scotland, where he spent his holidays with family relatives. This travel, he points out, brought about a fascination with airplanes that is recurrently reflected in stories such as “On the Yankee Station” or “Extracts from the Diary of Flying Officer J,” both published in On the Yankee Station (1982). When he was nine, his parents sent him to Scotland to proceed with his schooling, and this period proved to be a turning point in both personal and literary terms. Tired of an educational system that he considered stifling, Boyd abandoned the suffocating atmosphere of British prep schools to become acquainted with other cultures and languages. This interest took him to Nice University, where he attended several courses on French language and literature that he nostalgically remembers in “Alpes Maritimes” and “Gifts,” two other stories in On the Yankee Station. After his time in France, Boyd returned to England to start a degree at Oxford University, where he consolidated his literary tastes and, more important, wrote his first fictional accounts. Once he completed his degree, the novelist-to-be began to lecture in literary theory at St Hilda’s College while working on a Ph.D. dissertation he never finished. He soon felt that teaching was not rewarding enough and left Oxford to become a full-time writer. By this time Boyd had managed to write two novels that remain unpublished and a number of short stories that appeared in several newspapers and journals that would later be compiled in On the Yankee Station. In 1981 his first novel, A Good Man in Africa, came out. He was awarded several literary prizes and started to be acknowledged as the successor of KINGSLEY AMIS and Evelyn Waugh. Boyd was recognized as a master of humor, irony, and farce, which he exhibits more conspicuously in his second and third novels, respectively. An Ice-Cream War (1982) and Stars and Bars (1983) confirmed Boyd’s extraordinary versatility and ample literary scope, ranging from antiwar satire to farcical portraits of both American and British societies.

Although Boyd is best known for his novels, the role played by the short story is, according to the author, crucial to understand some of the issues he tackles in his longer works: “My own case is perhaps typical: I have written eight novels but I cannot stop writing short stories—something about the short form . . . lures me back again and again” (2004, 24). Furthermore, Boyd’s relationship with the short story has been productive on several levels. It allows him to experiment with forms, characters, and themes and to become initiated in the complex and sometimes hostile editorial world. On the Yankee Station was his first collection, and it already shows traits that characterize most of his stories. In his illuminating “Brief Encounters,” written for the Guardian in 2004, Boyd argues that reduction and concision are the elements that differentiate the short story from the novel and also the traits that endow his stories with a very singular dimension. On the Yankee Station is full of autobiographical details, perfectly discernible in “Killing Lizards,” in which he depicts the tranquil existence of a boy living in Africa with his parents; in “Alpes Maritimes;” and in “Gifts.” Boyd’s stories in this collection gravitate around motifs that he deals with more extensively in his novels: The figure of the expatriate, the African scenarios, and the use of satire become distinguishable features of narratives that analyze the unpredictability of ordinary situations. On the Yankee Station is also full of literary allusions and influences, for instance, the very noticeable Dickensian touches in “Bat Girl,” in which Boyd draws on the same facts versus imagination dichotomy that CHARLES DICKENS explores in Hard Times (1854), and the Swiftean approaches to the odors and shortcomings of the human body in “Historie Vache,” reminiscent of the episode in which the eponymous hero of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels observes and smells at close range the bodies of the enormous Brobdingnagian women. In stylistic and formal terms, short stories have been an essential groundwork for Boyd, who has attempted to depart from the more realistic framework of his novels to survey more postmodern and challenging literary forms. The Destiny of Nathalie “X” (1992) epitomizes this technical evolution, especially in the title story, in which Boyd uses a layout that echoes the structure of a


film script to satirize the vices and follies of Hollywood’s show business. In “Adult Video,” the story that opens his last collection, Fascination (2005), Boyd recuperates the starring character of both “Alpes Maritimes” and “Gifts” and places him in an Oxford context. There, the author analyzes the intricacies that underlie academic and cultural life through the tense relationship of a doctoral candidate and incipient novelist with his thesis supervisor. But above all, “Long Story Short,” the closing story of On the Yankee Station, emerges as one of the most brilliant and playful narratives Boyd has ever written, in which his direct way of addressing the reader, his way of re-creating himself as a fictional character, and the manipulative nature of the story turn it into a noteworthy piece of literary geniality. It is also important to mention that, besides being a basic means for formal experimentation, the short story has allowed Boyd to delineate some of his most memorable characters. Such is the case of Morgan Leafy, the protagonist of A Good Man in Africa, who appears for the first time in “Next Boat to Douala” and again in “The Coup” in On The Yankee Station evidencing the same foolishness and vices as in Boyd’s first novel. Also, Logan Mountstuart is the central character of “Hotel de Vouyageurs” (in The Destiny of Nathalie “X”), in which Boyd provides some general hints about this protagonist of Any Human Heart.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ———. “Brief Encounters,” Guardian, 2 October 2004. ———. The Destiny of Nathalie “X.” London: Penguin, 1995. ———. Fascination. London: Penguin, 2005. ———. The New Confessions. London: Penguin, 1987. Boyd, William. On the Yankee Station. London: Penguin, 1982. ———. Protobiography. London: Penguin, 2005. Juan F. Elices

BRADDON, MARY ELIZABETH (1835– 1915) In her 55-year career, the almost preternaturally prolific Mary Elizabeth Braddon produced more than 80 novels, dozens of short stories, and a substantial number of plays and articles—as well as six children, a maelstrom of critical controversy, and a loyal, eager readership that continues to this day. Shrewdly aware of the public interest in scandal and sensation,

Braddon invariably wrote to sell. Her steamy pageturners upended conventional Victorian morality by featuring seemingly respectable protagonists, often women, who were guilty of sordid crimes and selfinterested calculation. Like her friend and sometimementor Edward Bulwer-Lytton and her popular contemporary WILKIE COLLINS, she supplied absorbing accounts of, as she put it in a letter to Bulwer, “crime, treachery, murder, slow poisoning, and general infamy” to an insatiable reading public (Wolff, 12). Yet despite the stream of often formulaic fiction written, sometimes pseudonymously, for the penny press, Braddon took the art and craft of writing seriously. Like Jane Austen, she closely observed social class and customs and exposed the corruption lurking beneath the veneer of civil propriety. Melding the convoluted plotting and extremes of gothic romance with the everyday realism of the domestic drama, Braddon followed Collins’s lead and helped forge a new genre—a kind of DETECTIVE FICTION in which the gothic heart of darkness is found not in some misty otherworld but in the uncomfortably close and familiar. Her most enduring work reveals her preoccupation with duplicitous societal strictures and women’s precarious lot. In an 1865 review of Aurora Floyd, the second in what Braddon termed her “pair of Bigamy novels” (the first being the spectacularly successful Lady Audley’s Secret), an admiring HENRY JAMES noted Braddon’s “turn for colour,” her artistry, “audacity,” and “pluck.” “Uncommonly clever,” Braddon “created the sensation novel” and turned her own “wide experience” to fictional account: “She knows much that ladies are not accustomed to know but they are apparently very glad to learn. The names of drinks . . . the talk natural to a crowd of fast men at supper, when there are no ladies present but Miss Braddon” (594). It was Braddon’s wide experience that so shocked and titillated more restrained Victorian sensibilities. Though born to a middle-class family, Braddon knew early privation and loss and was forced to reckon with the grimmer shades of grey in ambiguous, duplicitous adult relations. Her father, Henry, was charming and feckless, a failed solicitor who was unfaithful to his wife, Fanny White Braddon. The couple separated when Braddon was five, and finances were always a worry. By the time


Lady Audley appeared in 1862, Braddon had already flouted time-honored codes for ladylike discretion by taking to the stage to support herself, her mother, and her elder sister and then becoming involved with a married man. Her acting career was relatively shortlived, lasting from 1852 until about 1860, when the writing trade beckoned and proved to be more lucrative. Her liaison with publisher John Maxwell was a lifelong affair, from its inception in 1861 until the death of her cherished, stalwart, if sometimes irascible “Max” in 1895. Maxwell’s first wife was mentally ill, like the fictional Bertha Rochester, and was being cared for by relatives. Braddon became the amiable, estimable stepmother to Maxwell’s five children and gave birth to six children of her own (one son died in infancy). In 1874, after Maxwell’s first wife died, he and Braddon were able to “legitimize” the relationship that had stirred such social antipathy and critical scorn. In an unpublished memoir, Braddon wrote, “The history of my life is for the most part the history of the books I have written and the books I have read” (quoted in Wolff “Devoted Disciple,” 35). The sheer magnitude of her accomplishments makes the words “ambition” and “discipline” seem paltry. Her work was shaped by market demands—a market she herself helped create— yet works such as The Doctor’s Wife (1864), Birds of Prey (1867), Charlotte’s Inheritance (1868), The Cloven Foot (1879), and Ishmael (1884) show the clear influence of French realists Gustave Flaubert and Honoré de Balzac and of her later attraction to Zola’s naturalism. During the proliferation of the magazine trade in the 1860s, John Maxwell published periodicals for all classes of readers, and Braddon wrote stories for and serialized novels in most of them, from hack-work thrillers for the Halfpenny Journal to more earnest efforts directed at the middle- and upper-class readers of Temple Bar and Belgravia. She edited Belgravia from 1866 to 1876, also writing much of its content. Belgravia’s popular Christmas annual of stories and poems reemerged as The Mistletoe Bough in 1878. Braddon edited and contributed to it for most of its 15-year run. It is safe to assume that all of Braddon’s stories originally appeared in periodicals before being collected in the eight editions that appeared in her lifetime, though a few sources remain untraced. (Her novel All Along the

River was originally issued in two volumes, and the third in the typical three-volume format was composed of eight short stories; some sources list two additional collections: Figure in the Corner, 1879, and Great Journey, 1882. American and other foreign editions were sometimes retitled.) As does her longer fiction, her stories demonstrate her versatility and fluctuate in style, theme, and literary intent. She was a virtuoso of the ghost story, a hugely popular but still critically undervalued genre that held sway in the Victorian imagination and furnished chills around many a fireside. “At Chrighton Abbey,” first published in Belgravia in 1871 and then collected in Milly Darrell and Other Tales (1873), typifies the traditional ghost story with its slow buildup of tension and accumulation of believable supernatural portents. “The Cold Embrace,” from her first story collection, Ralph the Bailiff and Other Tales (1862) (first printed in Maxwell’s Welcome Guest, 1860), is notable for its eerie narrative wryness and the inevitability of the faithless, narcissistic artist’s demise at the spectral hands of his carelessly rejected betrothed. As in countless folktales of beyond-the-grave visitations, Braddon’s hauntings are often personal rather than historical, born of unresolved emotional need. As in her less uncanny sensation fiction, plots hinge on suicide and suffering, crime, guilt, and revenge. Commonplace cruelties and everyday ambiguities are thematic mainstays. “The Shadow in the Corner,” from Flower and Weed and Other Tales (1883; first published in CHARLES DICKENS’s All the Year Round, 1879), is a wrenching exposé of social class and female vulnerability. Other ghost tales include “EVELINE’S VISITANT” and “How I Heard My Own Will Read” from Ralph the Bailiff and Other Tales, “Her Last Appearance” and “John Granger” from Weavers and Weft and Other Tales (1877), “Dr Carrick” from Flower and Weed, and “My Wife’s Promise” from Under The Red Flag and Other Tales (1886). “GOOD LADY DUCAYNE,” published in the Strand Magazine (1896), is a vampire tale that may well have influenced the 1897 Dracula, written by Braddon’s friend BRAM STOKER. Many of the tales make use of Braddon’s theatrical background and offer portraits of colorful types as well as intriguing glimpses into her own early experience. In “Too Bright to Last,” from Weavers and Weft (1877;


originally published in the Belgravia Christmas Annual in 1871), a young woman is stranded by her scapegrace father and survives by taking to the stage. “Across the Footlights” (first printed in the Mistletoe Bough in 1884 and then in Under the Red Flag the same year) evokes the world of the Theatre Royal in Brighton, where a young Mary Seyton (Braddon’s stage name) and the fictional Rosalie Morton appear. In “Thou Art the Man,” from Flower and Weed, a suspicious theatergoer turns amateur sleuth and proves that his first love was murdered by the star of a Drury Lane play in which the actor/killer mimics, all too closely, the real crime. Though her ghostly tales and detective fiction are best remembered and most often anthologized today, Braddon’s subversion of Victorian codes and depiction of women’s social and economic place in other works are of particular interest to feminist scholars.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. The Cold Embrace and Other Ghost Stories. Edited by Richard Dalby. Ashcroft, British Columbia: Ash-Tree Press, 2000. ———. The Fatal Marriage and Other Stories. Edited by Chris Willis. Hastings, England: The Sensation Press, 2000. ———. Milly Darrell and Other Tales. 1873. Boston: Elibron Classics, 2002. ———. One Fatal Moment and Other Stories. Edited by Jennifer Carnell. Hastings, England: The Sensation Press, 2001. ———. Under the Red Flag and Other Tales. 1884. Boston: Elibron Classics, 2002. ———. Weavers and Weft. 1877. Boston: Elibron Classics, 2002. Carnell, Jennifer. The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Hastings, England: The Sensation Press, 2000. James, Henry. “Miss Braddon,” Nation, 9 November 1865, pp. 593–594. Willis, Chris. “Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Literary Marketplace.” Available online. URL: http://www.chriswillis. Accessed April 26, 2006. Wolff, Robert Lee. “Devoted Disciple: The Letters of Mary Elizabeth Braddon to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1862– 1873.” Harvard Library Bulletin 12 (1974): 5–35, 129–161. ———. Sensational Victorian: The Life and Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. New York: Garland Publishing, 1979. Kate Falvey


SUGAR” A. L. KENNEDY (1997) This story is from A. L. KENNEDY’s ORIGINAL BLISS. In a number of very favorable reviews of this collection, critics noted Kennedy’s predilection for characters who can be moved only by extreme circumstances, as if their responses have been dulled by more quotidian offenses, together with the puzzles in her work that challenge a reader’s comfortable responses to realistic fiction. This second characteristic is apparent in “Breaking Sugar,” which focuses on the relationship between the unnamed female narrator, a married former academic, and her boarder, Mr. Haskard, a systems analyst. While her husband, Nick, is at work, the narrator follows Haskard’s direction to take the furniture out into the lawn so she can see how “dead and insubstantial our achievements and defenses are” (114). Haskard’s strangeness is also marked by his hobby: He travels to places where people have been wronged—the site of “a supremely avoidable mining disaster” or “the pool where Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins was thrown, bound hand and foot” (119)—to say he is sorry. Haskard apologizes for what the reader imagines is his complicity as a member of the offending human race. Typically Kennedy makes it hard for us to know what to make of this: Certainly there are things for which we should feel guilty, but just as certainly it seems wrong to think that we can ever adequately apologize for them. Our desire to express solidarity with Haskard’s efforts is undercut when we discover that the photos he takes of these sorry landscapes “had a certain emptiness, as if he had arrived too late to catch the heart of it” (119). If this is the sum of our response, Kennedy suggests, it is not enough. The narrator and Haskard consummate their unusual relationship by smashing sugar cubes with a hammer against a breadboard, unleashing flashes of violet light. This aesthetic experience is written as if it had epiphanic undertones for the narrator. Maybe something significant is being released by this act, but again, Kennedy through her narrator, deflates the scene when she explains that the explosions are a natural process, part of the breaking of the sugar’s crystal form. The narrator keeps this nocturnal activity secret from her husband, even when he tastes the sugar on his bread. It would be easy to see the act of breaking the


sugar cubes aligned with Haskard’s apology, as if by apologizing he too was releasing light or energy heretofore trapped in the landscape. But then, where does the light come from in these scenes of culturally sanctioned tragedy, and is it right to make equivalent, for example, “torture and execution of Welsh resisters” (119) and the narrator’s personal, aesthetic-epiphanic moment in the kitchen? And what does it mean that the residue of such experiences adds a barely perceptible sweetness to the food we eat? Kennedy’s stories often probe the gulf between what makes her characters do and what her readers are willing to bear, and “Breaking Sugar” is no exception. In mostly flat and realistic prose, Kennedy presents a strange woman’s relationship in terms that are only subtly upsetting, but then offers little direction about how to interpret her story.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kennedy, A. L. Original Bliss. London: Jonathan Cape, 1997. Matthew Dube

(Tracy 173–174). After reading Marbot’s memoirs, which had been recommended to him by George Meredith, Conan Doyle saw the opportunity for crafting a new hero to replace Sherlock Holmes. Doyle would later comment that his three years of painstaking research on the Napoleonic era resulted in only “one little book of soldier stories” (Carr, 91). The first story featuring Brigadier Gerard appeared in December 1894 and was published in the STRAND MAGAZINE, which had featured the Sherlock Holmes tales. The Brigadier Gerard adventures came out over a 15-year period leading up to Professor Challenger’s debut in 1912. Conan Doyle’s accounts of Gerard’s exploits are distinguished for their careful attention to historical detail. The stories cover every major campaign and battle of the Napoleonic wars, from the French victories at Zurich in 1799 to the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, and correspond closely to their model Marbot’s career in Napoleon’s service (Tracy, 175).


“BRIGADIER GERARD” ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1894) During a long and prolific writing career, Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE created three of the most memorable characters in series fiction: the quintessential detective Sherlock Holmes, the indomitable man of science Professor Challenger, and the swashbuckling French soldier Etienne Gerard. Popular literature in the early 1890s witnessed a resurgence of interest in the Napoleonic era of the early 1800s. The victory over Napoleon at Waterloo continued to play a special role in British national memory, especially in contrast to the dirty little wars of imperial adventurism that since 1815 had occupied British attention. The Napoleonic wars with their romantic aura offered a rich field for adventure writers, who capitalized on the period’s hold on the popular imagination with stories crafted from the enemy’s viewpoint (Tracy, 173). The character of Brigadier Gerard was modeled on the life and military career of Baron Jean Baptiste de Marbot (1782–1854), a French cavalry officer and personal favorite of the Emperor’s, whose memoirs were first published in 1844. An English translation appeared in 1892 and became an immediate best seller

Carr, John Dickson. The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. New York: Carroll & Graff, 1949. Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Complete Brigadier Gerard. Edinburgh: Canongate, 1996. Tracy, Jack. “How the Brigadier Came to Be Written.” In Brigadier Gerard, edited by Jack Tracy, 173–182. New York: Jove, 1982. Tony Rafalowski


Although the British Empire had its beginnings long before the 19th century, it was not until the second half of that century that it made its greatest impact on British literature. This was the age of high imperialism, more aggressively expansionist in character than formerly, and the culmination of a period stretching back to the last decades of the 18th century, when Britain lost its American colonies to revolution but rapidly began to acquire global possessions elsewhere. The annexation of Bengal consolidated the British hold upon India; the Victorian age saw further gains from New Zealand to Canada and participation in the European-wide “scramble for Africa.” (The whole of Ireland, too, remained under


British sway until 1916, but in view of its proximity and similarity of language and custom, it is generally regarded as a special case.) In the first half of the Victorian era, literary awareness of empire remained largely confined to travel writing and essays by writers including CHARLES DICKENS and ANTHONY TROLLOPE; there were also the juvenile seafaring adventure tales of Captain Marryat and R. M. Ballantyne, and the colonial influence is discernible in some adult novels, such as Vanity Fair (1847) by William Makepeace Thackeray, who was born in India. But later in the century the empire came to figure more extensively in mainstream fiction. Engaging with empire liberated writers from domestic concerns and allowed them to deal in the exotic mode while foregrounding Western ideals and values. Indeed, the bulk of this writing operated on a fundamental (often racist) assumption of difference, maintaining a certain distance between colonizer and colonized and thus allowing colonized places to function as the site of difference or otherness, of the unknown, leading to wonder, excitement, and adventure. On the simplest level, this meant tales of youthful escapades of the kind exemplified in the work of G. A. Henty and the stories that saturated juvenile magazines like Boy’s Own, tales of young colonial heroes going abroad, fighting battles, mastering natives, and making their fortunes; this fiction was also seen to inculcate sound imperial values in the young. The columns of the new adult magazines, too, were replete with stories, whether short stories or serialized novels (like some of Rider Haggard’s African romances), in which exotic places featured as a convenient backdrop for tales of magic, mysticism, and the supernatural. However, around the beginning of the 20th century there appeared a body of fictional writing, now regarded as seminal, that took a more complex approach and in which the Empire provided a sharp focus for all manner of fears and insecurities. RUDYARD KIPLING made his name with his early short stories about India, but while The JUNGLE BOOKS gave an exhilarating picture of life in the Indian wilds, stories from his other collections such as PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS (1888) were rather different. These stories exhibited a new literary sophistication in employing irony and economy of method to build up a picture of Anglo-

Indian life largely shorn of exotic glamour. For example, in “The MAN WHO WOULD BE KING” the two vagabonds who go to create a empire for themselves in Kafiristan are scarcely empire heroes in the traditional mold, and their story is told at a wry distance by a cynical narrator working in a stifling press office. Kipling thus suggests that the dreariness and drudgery of life in this office, and not grand exotic adventure, represent the true reality of the Raj. Throughout his Anglo-Indian fiction Kipling deals with ordinary folk, from soldiers to administrators, emphasizing the hardships they face and the problematic relationships, isolation, and overwork, often leading to physical and mental breakdown. This is what happens, for example, to the protagonists of “The PHANTOM RICKSHAW” and “AT THE END OF THE PASSAGE,” stories in which Kipling employs the gothic mode not just for its own sake but in order to highlight the psychological strains and stresses of Anglo-Indian life. Derangement is also a theme of JOSEPH CONRAD’s writing about Africa, most famously in HEART OF DARKNESS (1899). This novella deals with the Belgian rather than British Empire but expresses concerns seen to be common to all modern colonialism. The sardonicallytitled “An Outpost of Progress,” which appeared in TALES OF UNREST (1898), similarly features European violence, madness, and degeneracy in the primordial heart of Africa. Other tales in this collection deal with the Far East (as many of Conrad’s later celebrated stories and novels were to do), and although more in the traditional romance-adventure mode they carry the same sense of the sheer immensity and incomprehensibility of tropical regions. In such stories the other threatens to, and sometimes actually does, overwhelm. Another distinct geographic locale that features in empire writing of the era is the South Seas. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON’s “The BEACH OF FALESÁ” (1892) is groundbreaking in its squalidly realistic account of white corruption in the region and ends with its narrator caught in the classic colonial dilemma of wavering between two worlds, committing himself to his native wife and children while still longing to return to England. “The Ebb Tide” (1894) anticipates Conrad in its tragic realism and highly wrought symbolism, exploring not only the perversion of colonialist ideals but raising pertinent questions about the human condition.


Such writing reveals the anxieties that beset Empire even at its seeming height, and with the dawn of the 20th century, particularly with the protracted, inglorious spectacle of Britain’s controversial entry into the Boer War in South Africa (1899–1900), a waning of confidence in the imperial project became more pronounced. Doubts about the legitimacy of imperialism, fears of contamination through “primitive” contact, and worries over Britain being gradually overhauled by increasingly powerful competitors on the world stage all accumulated in the rush to the cataclysm of world war. Thereafter writers like SOMERSET MAUGHAM and E. M. FORSTER continued to engage with the related themes of empire and the exotic in their short stories and novels. Also, the empire began to “write back,” initiating a new phase of postcolonialism as authors from the colonies and later from the independent nations found their own voice and began to tell their own stories while casting a critical eye over the slow dwindling and final extinction of the British Empire, on which, it was once fondly believed, the Sun would never set.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Brantlinger, Patrick. Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism 1830–1914. New York and London: Cornell University Press, 1988. Boehmer, Elleke, ed. Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature 1870–1918. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Gish, Robert. “The Exotic Short Story: Kipling and Others.” In The English Short Story 1880–1945: A Critical History, edited by Joseph M. Flora, 1–38. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Gurdip Panesar


Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, Charlotte Brontë was the third daughter of six children of Patrick Brontë, an Evangelical minister, and his wife, Maria. Her two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died in 1825 at the ages of 11 and 10 of tuberculosis contracted at Cowan Bridge Clergy Daughters’ School in Lancashire. Brontë and her younger sister, Emily, who also were at the school then, were brought home immediately; Cowan Bridge later was depicted in her first published novel, Jane Eyre (1847), as the appalling girls’ school, Lowood. Brontë also wrote three other novels under the pseudonym

Currer Bell: Shirley (1849), Villette (1853), and the posthumously published The Professor (1856). Her heroines are complexly written and portrayed, chronicling the often frustrating economic and social situations in which single, middle-class women frequently found themselves. Brontë began writing at a young age, her imagination fueled by reading the likes of Sir Walter Scott’s romances, Richard Burton’s Arabian Nights, and, especially, Lord Byron’s poetry. She and her brother Branwell first collaborated on a collection of stories and plays centered around the fictional Glass Town (1826– 30); he focused on the political intrigues while she created passionate tales about her romantic hero, the Duke of Wellington, and his son, Arthur Wellesley. From 1830 to 1833, Brontë wrote on her own, often incorporating characters from Glass Town. Stories such as “Albion and Marina” (1830), “The Bridal” (1832), and “The Foundling” (1833) feature themes that dominate her novels: tragic love, moral fortitude, self-esteem, and repressed emotion. Beginning in 1834, while Emily and Anne cowrote stories about the imaginary land of Gondal, Charlotte and Branwell joined together again to invent Angria (1834–39). Her manuscripts about the Duke of Zamorna and other characters continued developing the issues important to Brontë, and at least two of them, “High Life in Verdopolis” (1834) and “Henry Hastings” (1839), feature prototypes of Jane Eyre: plain young women whose intellect and passion are anathema to societal conformity. By 1838, when she was 22 years old, Brontë’s writing was becoming more mature and realistic; “Stancliffe’s Hotel” (1838) includes a character addicted to opium, mirroring her brother’s growing obsession with the drug that would eventually contribute to his death in 1848. Her final Angrian-related work, a novelette titled “Caroline Vernon” (1839) about a young woman seduced by Zamorna, anticipates the psychological range and depth of her novels. Noted for powerful descriptions of their heroines’ emotional and mental states, Brontë’s stories argue for women’s self-esteem and independence in a society that deems them insignificant. The Professor (written in 1846) was produced following Brontë’s return from


Belgium after falling in love with the married headmaster of the Pensionnat Heger. In Shirley, set during the Luddite riots of 1811–12, Brontë invented a determined and independent estate owner, Shirley Keeldar, and in Villette, she created perhaps her most complicated heroine, Lucy Snowe. Lucy’s struggle to construct an identity while constrained by external class and economic strictures is complicated by an internal battle about her own sense of worth. (See also “NAPOLEON AND THE SPECTRE.”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexander, Christine. The Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983. ———. An Edition of the Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë. 2 vols. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Shakespeare Head Press, 1987–91. Barker, Juliet. The Brontës. New York: St. Martin’s, 1995. Fraser, Rebecca. The Brontës: Charlotte Brontë and Her Family. New York: Ballantine, 1988. SueAnn Schatz

“BROOKSMITH” HENRY JAMES (1891) At just over 7,000 words, “Brooksmith” is one of HENRY JAMES’s most compact tales. An unnamed narrator recounts the decline and presumed death of Brooksmith, butler and “most intimate friend” to Oliver Offord, a retired diplomat who dies leaving Brooksmith £80 and the culture that unfits him for his station. As a frequent guest at Offord’s exclusive parties, the narrator claims that Brooksmith has tremendous social gifts: He is no less than “the occult artist” behind the stimulating conversation. However, the narrator often reveals his own snobbery, and his frequent, unfounded inferences make him unreliable. Brooksmith himself says little, suggesting that he may be less interested in salon talk than the narrator insists. And while Brooksmith descends into casual work and poverty in full view of the narrator, neither the narrator nor any of his social circle do anything to help. Rather, they lament the disappearance of the parties and justify their inaction by dismissing as beneath an artist such prosaic expedients as setting Brooksmith up in a shop or public house. Citing Brooksmith’s inability to rise beyond his class—even in death Brooksmith is imagined changing the plates of the gods—critics have remarked on the tale’s subtle social

criticism. More recent commentary has enlarged on the narrator’s unreliability. James’s remarks on the tale’s genesis (in his notebooks and the preface to his New York edition) reveal that the “germ” for “Brooksmith” concerned a maid condemned to return to her people after becoming accustomed to her recently departed mistress’s brilliant talk. In light of these origins, the tale’s treatment of gender is intriguing. The narrator’s hostility toward women spans the social spectrum: The ladies of England are incapable of cultivating a salon, while Brooksmith lives among “vague, prying, beery females.” Moreover, Brooksmith’s relationship to his master and the narrator’s keen pursuit of Brooksmith suggest a homoerotic subtext. “Brooksmith” first appeared May 2, 1891, in Black and White and Harper’s Weekly, in Britain and the United States, respectively. The tale was first collected in The Lesson of the Master (1892).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Anesko, Michael. “Friction with the Market”: Henry James and the Profession of Authorship. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Drummond, Rory. “The Spoils of Service: ‘Brooksmith.’ ” In The Finer Thread, the Tighter Weave: Essays on the Short Fiction of Henry James. edited by Joseph Dewey and Brooke Hovath, 69–81. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2001. James, Henry. The Complete Notebooks of Henry James. Edited by Leon Edel and Lyall H. Powers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. ———. Complete Stories. New York: Library of America, 1996. Winnie Chan

“BROTHER JACOB” GEORGE ELIOT (1864) GEORGE ELIOT described her short story “Brother Jacob” (written in 1860, published in the Cornhill 1864) as a “slight tale.” “Brother Jacob,” a story about deception, imperial venture, and self-interest, was the first piece written after her true identity had been disclosed to the public and one of only two independent short stories by the famous novelist. The story is a fable, written with a satiric tone. Eliot portrays the unashamed, brazen David Faux as he plots to steal his small inheritance from his mother’s room


and travel to the West Indies. His plan is foiled by his “idiot” brother Jacob, who catches him in the act. After failing to distract and pacify Jacob with candy from the confectioner’s shop at which he was an apprentice, David allows Jacob to follow him, only to leave him asleep on a stagecoach. David fails to make a fortune in the Indies, and the tale is picked up years later in the market town of Grimworth, where David (now Edward Freely) has set up a pastry and confection shop. The women at Grimworth, while at first snubbing the shop on the principle that no respectable (or self-respecting) woman would purchase cakes when she could make her own, succumb to the attractive products and become enamored with both Freely and his goods. Freely/Faux is eventually uncovered by the return of Jacob, who recognizes his “brother Davy,” and the townspeople reaffirm the threat to domestic harmony and social rank David presented. Sugar and its consumption contribute much of the rich symbolic material in the story. As Susan de Sola Rodstein notes, “sugar—in the middle decades of the 19th century in England, was the locus of intense moral and economic debate over slavery, emancipation, free trade, and social definition” (295). David, at first a confectioners’ apprentice, later represents the imperial adventurer who seeks a fortune first in the West Indies and then in a quiet market town, all through the slave-produced commodity sugar. Indeed, David at some level enslaves his brother Jacob, the women of Grimsworth, and even his potential wife “Penny Palfrey” through the sweets he produces and the “sweet” self-image he projects; Eliot describes this as “gradual corruption.” Eliot’s tale explicitly links sugar with the imperialist mind-set, so that we come to see that Freely’s goods are not the airy, harmless substances we might believe we are consuming. Eliot’s fable—a perfectly dramatized exaggeration of human greed and its influence—also emphasizes the way Edward Freely’s capitalist venture destroys communal and familial bonds. As Richard Mallen explains, the fable is about “the triumph of small-town virtue over a corrupting capitalism and democratic leveling. It is also a tale about the triumph of an explicit, authoritarian trust over an implicit, free-market trust” (50). Jacob, in his insatiable appetite for David’s sugar prod-

ucts, demonstrates the “idiocy” of a Victorian public that enables such capitalists to dupe the consumer. However, Eliot does award Jacob the ability to “uncover” the secret of Freely’s enterprise and identity, symbolically uncovering the British national’s participation in the slave trade of sugar and the public’s eager support. Social class in Grimworth is resolutely upheld, causing the suspicion leveled at the stranger Freely upon his arrival. As his “place in the scale of rank had not been distinctly ascertained,” he challenges the aristocratic code of class and profession with his unknown origin and his trade. The fable refutes this challenge, yet not with an unblemished return to order. Readers now see the greed and imperialist ties that lie within Britain, as Jacob, David, and the Grimworth residents each enjoy the sugar (and the other commodities it represents) even though such sweets might lead relationships and integrity to rot and decay.

BIBLIOGRAPHY de Sola Rodstein, Susan. “Sweetness and Dark: George Eliot’s “Brother Jacob,” Modern Language Quarterly 52 (1991): 295–317. Eliot, George. The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob. London: Penguin, 2001. Mallen, Richard D. “George Eliot and the Precious Mettle of Trust,” Victorian Studies 44, no. 1 (2001): 41–75. Erin V. Obermueller

BROUGHTON, RHODA (1840–1920)

Rhoda Broughton was born near Denbigh, North Wales, the third of four children of a clergyman. The family moved to the ancestral family home at Broughton, Staffordshire, when Broughton was young. Broughton Hall, originally built in the early 14th century, would later serve as the setting for Broughton’s first published novel, Cometh Up as a Flower (1867). Her first foray as an author came by way of SHERIDAN LEFANU, Broughton’s uncle by marriage, who arranged to have her first manuscript, Not Wisely but Too Well, published in the Dublin University Magazine; he also submitted it to his publisher, Bentley and Son. Although George Bentley rejected Not Wisely but Too Well on the basis of reader Geraldine Jewsbury’s poor review, he did agree to publish Broughton’s second manuscript, Cometh Up as a


Flower, in its place as a two-volume novel. Eventually Broughton revised Not Wisely and went on to write 24 more novels. These novels made Broughton one of the most popular novelists of the late Victorian era. The plots were basic, centering around the foibles and idiosyncrasies of the English country gentry, but it was her sharp, satiric barbs aimed at upper-middle-class pretentiousness that won over readers. While best known as a novelist, Broughton worked steadily as a writer of short stories, and magazine editors were eager to take her work. In 1873 she published a collection of short stories, Tales for Christmas Eve, later retitled Twilight Stories for a new 1879 edition. (While she occasionally published individual short stories, Twilight Stories is her only known compilation.) Although her short stories are not scrutinized as much as her novels, several literary scholars believe that these storytelling endeavors helped Broughton develop the crisp style and biting dialogue that mark her later novels. Twilight Stories contains five ghost stories, and the state of being unconscious (literally and figuratively) is a recurring theme. Broughton specifically targets those who scoff at dreams and premonitions as well as those who do not follow their instincts. For example, in both “The Man with the Nose” and “Behold It Was a Dream,” the main character’s dreams that something evil will happen are ridiculed as the product of an overactive imagination; at the end of each story, however, the protagonist’s fears have been realized. The main characters in “The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth” and “Under the Cloak” also fear something unknown, yet they do little to evade the danger. A ghost appears in a dream in “Poor Pretty Bobby,” the most conventional of the stories and the least interesting.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Broughton, Rhoda. Cometh Up as a Flower. London: Bentley, 1867. ——–. Twilight Stories. London: Home and Van Thal, 1979. Sadleir, Michael. Things Past. London: Constable, 1944. Wood, Marilyn. Rhoda Broughton: Profile of a Novelist. Stamford, England: Paul Watkins, 1993. SueAnn Schatz

BUCHAN, JOHN (1875–1940)

John Buchan was born in Perth, Scotland, the eldest son of a minister in the Free Kirk of Scotland. He began his prolific literary career when he was still a student, first at Glasgow University and then at Oxford. He was part of a flourishing Scottish literary scene led by Hugh MacDiarmid and was also part of the English establishment, pursuing a successful career as a barrister and member of Parliament—his political career culminating with the post of governor-general of Canada, from 1935 to 1940. Despite his political success, Buchan never abandoned his literary career, writing fiction as well as nonfiction works, including a biography of WALTER SCOTT (1932). During the interwar period, he focused mainly on the thriller genre, his novels being a means of propaganda for Britain’s imperial and anti-German policy. These works, including the famous The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), were extremely popular, but they gave him the reputation of an old-fashioned, misogynistic writer whose rather shallow plots were centered on English country houses and London Clubs. In fact, although he chose to move south to England for his career, he set many fictional and nonfictional works in his native Scotland, especially during the last years before his death. His own favorite novel, Witch Wood (1927), tells the story of a moderate Presbyterian minister, David Sempill, who is confronted with devil worship in his Scottish community and whose compassion is at odds with the religious extremism of his days. Often compared to the works of James Hogg and ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, it is one of the novels that have led to a renewal of interest in Buchan in the past few years as well as a critical reassessment of his works, whose real depth and sophistication are now acknowledged. Although he is mainly famous as a novelist, Buchan also wrote essays and poetry as well some 60 short stories, the majority of which were published in four collections: Grey Weather (1899), The Watcher by the Threshold (1902), The Moon Endureth (1912), and The Runagates Club (1928); other short stories were published in Scholar Gipsies (1896) or in magazines. “On Cademuir Hill,” his first short story, appeared in the Glasgow University Magazine in 1894 and deals with a gamekeeper who, being caught in a poacher’s trap,


thinks back on his life and analyzes the influence that drink and religion have had on him. Buchan’s early short stories were inspired by his holidays in the Borders in Scotland; his protagonists usually were young Oxford scholars who found mystery in unknown lands, first in Scotland and then in Africa, which Buchan discovered when he went to South Africa (1901–3) with the High Commission, working on reconstruction after the Boer War. Whether the contrast is between England and Scotland or between Britain and Africa, the same notion of a precarious balance between civilization and primitivism is to be found in Buchan’s novels and short stories. It is generally assumed that this preoccupation was mainly due to his experience of the WORLD WAR I, but it is already present in the novella The Power House (1913), in which the conspirator Lumley utters what is perhaps Buchan’s most famous line: “You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilisation from barbarism. I tell you the division is a thread, a sheet of glass. A touch here, a push there, and you bring back the reign of Satan.” Although Buchan wrote some realistic stories, usually set in Scotland, his strong mystical sense also led him to write a number of supernatural short stories. One of the most famous is “The Watcher by the Threshold,” whose narrator is summoned to the Highlands by his cousin after her husband has become possessed by the devil. Buchan was to deal with this theme of the survival of pagan rites in his later novels The Dancing Floor (1926) and Witchwood (1927).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Buchan, John. Complete Short Stories. London: Thistle, 1997. ———. Supernatural Tales. Edinburgh: B&W Publishing, 1997. ———. The Watcher by the Threshold. Edinburgh: Canongate, 1997. Lownie, Andrew. John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier. London: Constable, 1995. Webb, Paul. A Buchan Companion: A Guide to the Novels and Short Stories. Stroud, England: Alan Sutton, 1994. Benjamine Toussaint-Thiriet

“BURNING BABY, THE” DYLAN THOMAS (1936) Entered in the “red notebook” (a notebook containing drafts of 9 stories) and dated September

1934, “The Burning Baby” was published in Contemporary Poetry and Prose in May 1936. The story is characteristic of Thomas’s early prose work with its surreal and poetic imagery, its obsession with the sexual and the pagan, and its inclusion of elements of Welsh folklore such as Druids and changelings. Thomas got the idea for his story while on a visit to Aberystwyth in 1934 to meet the Anglo-Welsh writer Caradoc Evans. Another writer Glyn Jones, told him the story of the Welsh doctor William Price of Llantrisant (1800– 1893), an intellectual and druidic figure who sang pagan addresses to the Moon and named his muchloved illegitimate son Iesu Grist (Jesus Christ), because he believed him destined to recover the lost secrets of the druids. When the son died at the age of five years, Price burned the body on a hill in Caerlan fields, chanting wild laments. Price’s successful defense of himself at a subsequent trial made cremation legal in Britain. This plotline underwent considerable changes in Thomas’s treatment of his material. Clearly influenced by Caradoc Evans, the story mocks religious hypocrisy in its grotesque portraiture of a lecherous and incestuous minister, called Rhys Rhys, who impregnates his own ugly daughter—“her hair smelt of mice, her teeth came over her lip, and the lids of her eyes were red and wet” (23)—and burns the fruit of their incest, a newborn baby, alive. The story begins with echoes of Old Testament language: “They said that Rhys was burning his baby when a gorse bush broke into fire on the summit of the hill. The bush, burning merrily, assumed to them the sad white features and the rickety limbs of the vicar’s burning baby” (22). Rhys Rhys, who falls in love with his daughter “on a fine Sabbath morning in the middle of summer” (22), is morbidly obsessed with the sinfulness of the flesh. On the same day he has touched his own daughter’s body for the first time, he preaches in church: “That night he preached of the sins of the flesh. O God in the image of our flesh, he prayed. His daughter sat in the front pew, and stroked her arm” (23). Thomas effectively satirizes and attacks here the guilt-ridden perversity ascribed to the Nonconformist clergy. The highly dramatic and apocalyptic scene of the immolation of the child again shows the vicar’s horror at the corruption of (his own) flesh: “Burn, child, poor flesh, mean flesh, flesh, flesh, sick sorry


flesh, flesh of the foul womb, burn back to dust, he prayed” (27f). The gothic character of the story is further enhanced by the vicar’s eldest son, a changeling and idiot with green hair and tuberculosis who has had strange sexual adventures, for his sister “was to him as ugly as the sowfaced woman Llareggub who had taught him the terrors of the flesh. He remembered the advances of that unlovely woman” (25). This is the first appearance of the name Llareggub (“Bugger all” spelled backwards), which was to reappear in Thomas’s play Under Milk Wood. This boy carries a dead, bleeding rabbit throughout the story, which serves to release feelings of cruelty and perverse emotion; he howls with the wind and in a “sanatorium he coughed his lungs into a basin, stirring his fingers delightedly into the blood.” Morbid horror, disease, sexual obsession, and disgust create a horror tale that combines cruelty, madness, and incest into a surreal, nightmarish story. Written shortly before Thomas’s 20th birthday, “The Burning Baby” shows a solipsistic adolescent preoccupation with the ugly underside of sexuality, with insanity, violence, evil, sin, and redemption, as well as with the sinister connection among religion, sexuality, and death. Symbolist, surrealist, and gothic elements of Welsh folklore are intermingled in a kind of lyrical prose that presents reality as a phantasmagoria of images and perceptions, giving Thomas’s language intense sensual power, though perhaps less subtlety. This style is typical of Thomas’s early stories, which “explored the relation between immediate reality and archetypal symbols” (Vernon Watkins, quoted in Ackerman, 93). In 1938, after a three-year pause in the composition of prose, Thomas suddenly began writing in a totally different vein with “The Peaches,” drawing a clear line between his poetry and his prose.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackerman, John. Dylan Thomas. London: Macmillan, 1996. Thomas, Dylan. Early Prose Writings. Edited and with an introduction by Walford Davies. London: Dent, 1971. Peach, Linden, The Prose Writing of Dylan Thomas. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988. Heike Grundmann

BUTTS, MARY (1890–1937)

“There is no head or tail to this story, except that it happened. On the other hand, how does one know that anything happened? How does one know?” These opening lines of Mary Butts’s short story “Brightness Falls” exemplify the mystical and extraordinary quality of her short fiction. Her stories have been compared to those of HENRY JAMES, Marcel Proust, D. H. LAWRENCE, and KATHERINE MANSFIELD both in her lifetime and in the present, yet her writing has an individual, elliptical, and supernatural quality that makes her difficult to classify. Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman), in her memorial to Mary Butts shortly after the writer’s death, claimed that her stories have a spoken and visual quality that classifies them as poems, and in fact Bryher’s assessment reflects the same nebulous, inquisitive, and inspirational quality suggested by the quotation above. The stories are both poetic and magical and explore Butts’s contemporary world with an eye clearly prefiguring that of the 21st century. Born December 13, 1890, at Salterns, her family home in Dorset, England, the first child of Captain Frederick John Butts and Mary Jane Briggs (30 years his junior), Butts grew up in an affluent and educated family. As the great-granddaughter of Thomas Butts, a patron and friend of the romantic poet William Blake, Butts’s home was filled with original Blake paintings. Such a collection affected her imagination and, along with her education in Greek, Latin, and their mythologies, served as an early inspiration for her writing. The Blake paintings offered Butts a way to look beyond the realities of the seen world into what she called the “unseen world,” a concept that permeates most of her fiction. After the death of her father when she was 14, her mother remarried 15 months later and sent Mary to boarding school in Scotland, where she received one of the best educations available for girls at the time but where she also experienced loneliness and emotional hardship. She eventually became estranged from her mother and her beloved younger brother Anthony, mainly over issues of money; studied briefly at Westfield College in London from 1909 to 1912; attended the London School of Economics from 1912 to 1914; and worked with London County Council, the Children’s


Care Committee, and the National Council Against Conscription during the early years of the war. During this time, she had an affair with Eleanor Rogers and began her 21 years of journal writing in 1916. She also met the poet and publisher John Rodker, married him in 1918, and had one child, Camilla, in 1920. Shortly after Camilla’s birth, Butts left her with a friend in London and went away to Paris with Cecil Maitland, a Scottish artist and Joyce critic whom she had met while married to Rodker. She had already been involved with drugs, but Maitland deepened that involvement (cocaine, opium, hashish, heroin) and introduced her to Aleister Crowley (“The Great Beast”) and his occult group in Cefalu, Italy. She soon became disenchanted with Crowley, and Maitland eventually left her damaged and hurt. He had been, she claimed, the love of her life. Butts then pursued a wildly bohemian life in London, Paris, and Villefrance, France. She moved easily among artists, writers, lesbians, and homosexuals in the avant-garde world of the 1920s, all the while writing and working on her art in spite of her addiction to opium and involvement with other drugs. Her wild lifestyle stunned even the other bohemians of the period, and records of her behavior appear in numerous memoirs of the times. Although she knew and interacted with her fellow modernists (including Gertrude Stein, VIRGINIA WOOLF, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, JAMES JOYCE, W. B. Yeats, and Ford Madox Ford), she remained an independent woman and never belonged to any group. By 1930 drugs and poverty led to a breakdown from which her mother rescued her. In the same year, Butts married Gabriel Aitken, a young English artist. Aitken, however, was an alcoholic and a homosexual, and in 1934 he left her at their home in Sennen Cove, near Land’s End in Cornwall. She spent the remainder of her life in the natural world that she had loved as a child, became an Anglo-Catholic, and continued writing. She never relinquished her addiction to opium and died in 1937 after being rushed to a hospital in Penzance, where she died after an operation for a gastric ulcer. Mary Butts published five novels; an autobiography of childhood; dozens of poems, essays, and reviews; and three collections of short stories: Speed the Plough and Other Stories (1923), Several Occasions (1932), and

Last Stories (1938). Most of her stories deal with her contemporary society, both urban and rural, and with the mystical aspect of both worlds. In these worlds Butts explores sexuality, especially homosexuality, with an openness and honesty rare for her time. Her examination of a physically and psychically injured World War I soldier in “Speed the Plough” illustrates such interest. Lying in a London hospital bed imagining all sorts of expensive fabric in the clothes displayed in the English fashion magazine The Sketch, which often included the “Kirchner album” of beautiful young women, this soldier’s interest is not in the women but in the fabrics and clothing. Sent to the country to recuperate, he creates in his mind a London dress shop as he milks cows and finds himself sickened by the connection to female sexual reproduction. Clothing and fabric become something of a veil between the masculine and feminine worlds—an aesthetic metaphor for the young, homosexual soldier. It ends with the soldier back in London, once again a dressmaker, serving a young society girl in a fitting room, on his knees, “vertical in black cloth, and grey trousers, and exquisite bow tie,” pinning up a hem, in a submissive position but in control. The young girl looks down frowning, but he finds himself lost in “A roll of Lyons brocade, silver, and peach, [that] was pliant between his fingers as the teats of a cow.” This story is complex and intriguing in its representation of male desire and female external trappings, which offer insights to Butts’s sympathetic yet complicated understanding of and interest in homosexual men, a theme she returns to again and again in much of her fiction. Butts is perhaps at her best when she imbues her stories with contemporary life and female manifestations of power drawn from a primal goddess source. These stories transport the reader to the avant-garde world of the 1920s but also transcend time and place to a supernatural realm. Stories like “Brightness Falls,” “Friendship’s Garland,” and “Widdershins” pit rural and urban values against each other while the characters quest for healing in a postwar world. Incorporating mystical and mythical images into stories whose characters have names like Daphne and Cynthia, Butts captures mythical references for her own purposes. In “Friendship’s Garland,” for example, Butts appropri-


ates the Daphne/Apollo myth for modern interpretation. Daphne, in her attempt to escape the metaphorical rape of her artificial society, where “things are not natural, marble like cheese, red velvet, and plaster gilt,” experiences a metamorphosis and epiphany as she conjures a vision of a sanctified (biblical and mythical) tree and finds that the tree “was also myself.” When the vision clears, she discovers that, after stripping the makeup from her face, the face presented to city society, one look in the mirror reveals, “I looked like a child that has been dipped in dew.” It is the sanctity of nature and myth that transforms her and transports her from the dis-ease of the wounded and misguided society, ironically a society that is also an essential aspect of these characters’ lives. Other stories like “From Altar to Chimney-piece” (Butts’s indictment of Gertrude Stein and her salon: “men and women who think art synonymous with vice”) present a much darker view of the sacred and profane, blending biographical events with occult secrets. “Madonna of the Magnificat,” another attempt at fusing the natural and supernatural worlds, modernizes Mary, the Virgin Mother. Butts’s character suggests the free-spirited, profane side of Mary, perhaps the “Mary” Mary Butts herself might have been. The blendings of sacred and profane permeate, enliven, and enrich the stories as they and the female characters create their own kind of power. At her death Mary Butts was in negotiation with T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber for a collection of short stories; they were subsequently published posthumously by Bryher, who owned Brendin Publishing Company. Butts’s short fiction, as well as her longer works, is infused with a mythical and mystical quality, a dazzling complexity of language, powerful female characters, and a true sense of magic.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Blondel, Nathalie, ed. The Journals of Mary Butts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. ———. Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life. Kingston, N.Y.: McPherson & Company, 1992. Butts, Mary. From Altar to Chimneypiece: Selected Stories. New York: McPherson & Company, 1992. ———. Last Stories. London: Brendin Publishing Co., 1938. ———. Several Occasions. London: Wishart & Co., 1932.

———. Speed the Plough and Other Stories. London: Chapman & Hall, 1923. ———. With and Without Buttons and Other Stories. Manchester, England: Carcanet Press, Ltd., 1991. Foy, Roslyn Reso. “Brightness Falls: Magic in the Short Stories of Mary Butts,” Studies in Short Fiction 36, no. 4 (Fall 1999): 381–399. ———. Ritual, Myth, and Mysticism in the Work of Mary Butts: Between Feminism and Mysticism. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2001. Hamer, Mary. “Mary Butts, Mothers, and War.” In Women’s Fiction and the Great War. Edited by Suzanne Rait and Trudi Tate, 219–240. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. Roslyn Reso Foy

BYATT, A(NTONIA) S(USAN) (1936– ) A. S. Byatt was born on August 24, 1936, in Sheffield, England. Her father was a judge and writer, and her mother was a secondary school teacher who later gave up her career to care for her children. In 1957, Byatt earned her B.A. at Cambridge University and later pursued graduate work at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, and Somerville College, Oxford University. During the period 1962–83, Byatt taught in the department of liberal studies at the Central School of Art and Design, London, and was, in the latter part of that period, a senior lecturer in English and American literature at University College, London. Beginning in 1978, she was periodically employed as a British Council lecturer. This position provided the opportunity to travel extensively to places like Spain, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and India; these experiences (as she herself recognizes) have greatly influenced Byatt’s fictional writing. In 1983, she began writing full time and has since had a prolific and renowned career publishing numerous novels, short stories, and collections of literary criticism. Her accomplishments in the field were recognized in 1990 when she was awarded the prestigious CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). For the first half of her career, Byatt primarily published novels, beginning in 1964 with Shadow of a Sun (later reprinted as The Shadow of the Sun), a novel that examines the difficulties faced by women artists and intellectuals. This theme is taken up in much of her


later work, including her best-known work, Possession: A Romance (1990). The novel received the Booker Prize and was later made into a major Hollywood film. Possession is the story of two modern Victorian scholars who uncover an illicit love affair between two of the 19th century’s most prominent poets, Randolph Henry Ash (based on Robert Browning) and Christabel Lamotte (based on Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti). The story engages one of Byatt’s most prominent fictional themes: the relationship between the past and the present, or what she refers to as “the relationship between living and dead minds.” Much of Byatt’s fiction is set in the 19th century, which has earned her a reputation as a “postmodern Victorian.” In her fiction, she plays with the conventions of 19th-century realism and of postmodernism to create engaging narratives that simultaneously entertain the reader while they call into question the nature and function of storytelling. Byatt often tests the bounds of realism by incorporating elements of fantasy, fairy tale, and ghost story into narratives that otherwise adhere to the realist tradition. The relationship between language and lived experience is central to all of her work, and her readers are continually asked to consider the function of reading and writing and the impact of those acts on individuals and communities. These themes are taken up at considerable length in two of her works of literary criticism: Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings (1991) and On Histories and Stories: Selected Essays (2000). In these and other nonfiction writings, Byatt names her primary influences as George Eliot, Honoré de Balzac, and Iris Murdoch. In 1987 Byatt published her first collection of short stories, titled Sugar and Other Stories. She has since published five other collections of short fiction: ANGELS AND INSECTS (1992), The MATISSE STORIES (1993), The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye (1994), Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice (1998), and Little Black Book of Stories (2004). The short stories contained within each collection are held together by theme and focus, while still able to stand alone as autonomous narratives. The 11 tales in Sugar and Other Stories are linked by themes like the struggle of the female intellectual and the legacy of generations in

“Racine and the Tablecloth” and “Rose-Coloured Teacups”; writerly ambition and the relationship between writing and mortality in “Loss of Face,” “On the Day That E. M. Forster Died,” and “Precipice-Encurled”; and human mortality and the notion of spiritual and physical decay in “The July Ghost,” “The Next Room,” “The Dried Witch,” “The Changeling,” and “In the Air.” All of these themes culminate in the final story, “Sugar,” a seemingly autobiographical story of a woman who tries to decipher the truth about her family’s history after her father’s death and, in so doing, comes to understand the ways in which storytelling helps shape experience and understanding. Angels and Insects contains two novellas, “MORPHO EUGENIA” and “The Conjugial Angel,” each of which is set in the 19th century and takes up two of the period’s most pressing concerns: science and spiritualism. The tales in The Matisse Stories are each inspired by one of Henri Matisse’s paintings. The shared central theme of “Medusa’s Ankles,” “Art Work,” and “The Chinese Lobster” is the complex formation of a personal aesthetic, and as such, each tale contemplates the relationship among sight, thought, and feeling. The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories is a delightfully entertaining and clever collection of adult fairy tales inspired by The Arabian Nights and Turkish poetry; it includes “The STORY OF THE ELDEST PRINCESS.” The six narratives in Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice blend characteristics of fairy tale and realism to create stories whose central theme is the nature of desire and longing. The most remarkable tale in this collection is “Cold,” the story of an ice princess who risks her own life and liveliness to move to the desert kingdom of her lover, whom she desperately longs to be near. Byatt’s next collection of short fiction, Little Black Book of Stories, contains five sophisticated tales that are part fairy tale, part ghost story. “A Stone Woman” is about a woman who, after the loss of the elderly mother, finds that she is turning into stone. “The Thing in the Forest” is a tale of two young girls who see something dreadful in a forest and return to the scene as middleaged women. All the stories in the collection bring together the fantastic, the horrific, and the everyday in order to examine the tie between the natural and the supernatural.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Alfer, Alexa, and Michael J. Noble. Essays on the Fiction of A. S. Byatt. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2001. Byatt, A. S. Angels and Insects. London: Chatto, 1992. ———. The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories. London: Chatto, 1994. ———. Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice. London: Chatto, 1998. ———. Little Black Book of Stories. London: Chatto, 2004. ———. The Matisse Stories. London: Chatto, 1993. ———. Passions of the Mind: Selected Writings. London: Chatto, 1991. ———. Still Life. London: Chatto, 1985. ———. Sugar and Other Stories. London: Chatto, 1987.

———. Introduction to The Oxford Book of English Short Stories, edited by A. S. Byatt, xv–xxx. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Dusinberre, Juliet. “A. S. Byatt.” In Women Writers Talking, edited by Janet Todd, 181–195. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. Franken, Christien. A. S. Byatt: Art, Authorship, Creativity. London: Palgrave, 2001. Hope, Christopher. Contemporary Writers: A. S. Byatt. London: Book Trust/British Council, 1990. Kelly, Kathleen Coyne. A. S. Byatt. Twayne’s English Authors Series 529. New York: Twayne, 1996. Lana Dalley


CD terville ghost. With red eyes, long gray matted hair, ragged clothes, and chains hanging from his wrists and ankles, the ghost is furious when Otis calmly requests that he use Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator to silence the noise of the chains. When the ghost flees, groaning in an attempt to terrify the family, the twins throw pillows at him. In 300 years, the Canterville ghost has not been so insulted. He mentally runs through his list of brilliant performances, all of which resulted in the death or madness of those he frightened, and vows revenge. The humiliation of the ghost continues, and he finally resorts to stealing Virginia’s paints to restore the bloodstain that Washington removes daily. His groans cause Mrs. Otis to recommend Dr. Dobell’s tincture for indigestion to the ghost, and the twins set up a mock ghost that terrifies him. The ghost resolves to himself that these are gross materialists incapable of appreciating him, and he determines to do only his minimal duty as a ghost. He even tries the Rising Sun Lubricator and finds that it does indeed oil his chains well. After a butter slide set up by the twins trips him, he vows to try his most terrible disguise, Reckless Rupert, or the Headless Earl. But the twins douse him with water and laugh at him. The Canterville ghost gives up his nocturnal wanderings, and the family generally assumes that the ghost is gone. One day, Virginia notices the ghost sitting alone in the tapestry chamber. He admits to killing his wife and then says that her brothers starved him in retaliation.

“CANTERVILLE GHOST, THE” OSCAR WILDE (1887) First published in the Court and Society Review, “The Canterville Ghost,” subtitled “a Hylo-Idealistic Romance,” concerns an American minister, Mr. Hiram B. Otis, who buys a haunted English mansion from Lord Canterville. When warned about the ghost by Canterville, Mr. Otis replies only that since Americans live in a modern country and have everything that money can buy, if there is a ghost they would just as soon have it in a museum. Canterville tells Otis that the ghost has been around since 1584 and makes an appearance before any family death. Otis refuses to believe that there is any ghost, and the purchase is completed. The Otis family consists of Hiram; his wife, the New York belle Lucretia R. Tappan; their eldest son, Washington; their 15-year-old daughter, Virginia; and their twins, nicknamed the “Stars and Stripes.” Upon entering their new home, Mrs. Otis notices a bloodstain which the housekeeper identifies as the blood of Lady Eleanore de Canterville, murdered by her husband Sir Simon in 1575. It is Sir Simon’s ghost that haunts Canterville. He survived his wife for nine years before disappearing under strange circumstances, and his body was never discovered. Washington promptly removes the stain with Pinkerton’s Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent. The next morning, the bloodstain has returned, as it does each morning after Washington removes it. One night, Mr. Otis is awakened by the clanging of metal and the appearance of the Can-



The ghost tells Virginia that he cannot sleep and that he wishes to die, but that he cannot until the prophecy written on the library window is fulfilled. The prophecy requires a golden girl to pray and weep for the soul of the ghost. She agrees, and they disappear together. At midnight, Virginia reappears to her frantic family with a beautiful box of jewels and with the news that the ghost is dead. She takes her family into a chamber where a gaunt skeleton stretches out his hand for an out-of-reach water jug. The family holds a funeral for the ghost, and not long after, Virginia marries her sweetheart, a duke. The story closes when the duke asks her what happened when she was locked up with the ghost. Virginia refuses to answer, and only blushes when the Duke asks if she will tell their children. In “The Canterville Ghost,” OSCAR WILDE draws on fairy tales, the popular gothic conventions of the 19th century, and the portrait of the American abroad to shape his comic ghost story. Possible sources for the ghost of Sir Simon include Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Maud” as well as Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Christabel.” Wilde also emphasizes Sir Simon’s performance of a role, the importance of masks and appearance, and the discrepancy between the public and private self, all of which are repeated themes in Wilde’s work. The clearly allegorical names of the children—Washington, Virginia, and the Stars and Stripes—suggests that they come from a country in which everything can be bought and commodified, in which the bloodstains from the past are easily removed with the newest brand of detergent. Henry Labouchere, who endorsed Wilde’s lecture tour in America in 1882, hoped that Wilde’s hyperaestheticism might offer a corrective for America’s hypermaterialism, and it is this hypermaterialism that characterizes the Americans of Wilde’s story. That England’s ghosts and skeletons simply fail to haunt the American Otis family is a central point in “The Canterville Ghost.” The ghost cannot haunt the American family, and it is only in the young girl Virginia that Wilde hints at a more vexed relationship to the past. She eventually marries a duke, making her father uneasy that she is united with a titled figure of the past. She is the character most aligned with the ghost, and she disappears with him for hours for which she will not account. At her husband’s urging to tell

what occurred between her and the ghost, or at least to tell their children one day, Virginia only blushes, though it remains unclear whether she blushes at the allusion to sexuality within the marriage, at the mystery of her time with the ghost, or at some combination of the two.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Wilde, Oscar. The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories. New York: Dover, 2001. Julieann Ulin

“CAPTAIN OF THE POLE-STAR, THE” ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1883) While still a 23year-old medical student, before creating the wildly popular character of Sherlock Holmes, ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE published “The Captain of the Pole-Star.” Conan Doyle’s tale is a ghost story set aboard an arctic expedition, narrated by John McAlister Ray, a young medical man. Conan Doyle’s own experience as a ship’s doctor aboard the whaling ship Hope in the Arctic Circle no doubt inspired this unsettling story of a captain haunted by memories the narrator can only imagine. The narrative also foreshadows Conan Doyle’s later interest in spiritualism. The story takes the form of a diary kept by John Ray aboard a Scottish whaler, chronicling increasingly disturbing events that take place as the ship approaches the far reaches of the north. Although sympathetic to the nervous disorders that can plague men on a long and lonely voyage, the skeptical Dr. Ray nevertheless finds rational explanations for occurrences that convince the crew that the ship is cursed and that they are being haunted. The ship’s captain, Craigie, manifests strange behavior during the voyage, and at odd times this seemingly cultured and intellectual man becomes irrational, distraught, and even violent. The narrator is intrigued by him but does not believe that the captain’s behavior is caused by anything other than emotional or psychological distress. As the events in the diary come to a climax, the captain appears to glimpse a figure on the ice and becomes deeply agitated, then elated. Captain Craigie leaps onto the ice, speaking fondly to what the narrator characterizes as “a wreath of mist, blown swiftly in a line with the ship,” and disappears. When


his frozen body is found a day and half later, it is in the attitude of an embrace and covered by a swirl of ice crystals that seem to be, to some of the crew, in the “shape of a woman.” Dr. Ray ends his diary here, and Conan Doyle includes an afterword by the young man’s father, noting that he, the father, has learned that the captain, as a young man, had loved a woman who died “under circumstances of peculiar horror” while Craigie was at sea. “The Captain of the Pole-Star” is an interesting character study of both the captain and the narrator. The doctor begins the diary as a practical, skeptical man who is, as his father describes him in the afterword, “unimaginative.” He scoffs at the crew members’ superstitions and seeks to find rational explanations for their fears and his own uneasiness. The captain can also be read as a double of the narrator. Both are well-educated men, and the narrator is devoted to a young woman named Flora, whom he misses and regrets having left behind as the journey becomes progressively dangerous and bizarre. The captain’s fate may be a cautionary one for the younger doctor, since the captain’s beloved met her horrible death while he was away, and Captain Craigie has apparently never been able to forget, or perhaps to forgive himself. As the diary comes to a close, the narrator finds himself more open to the supernatural and remarks that from his experiences on the Pole-Star, he has “learned never to ridicule any man’s opinion, however strange it may seem.” The events described and the conclusions reached in the story are tantalizingly ambiguous and suggest a fin de siècle meditation on the inadequacy of rational explanations in the face of human emotion and supernatural phenomena.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conan Doyle, Arthur. “The Captain of the Pole-Star.” In Victorian Ghost Stories, edited by Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert, 283–303. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Anita Rose

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS RUDYARD KIP(1897) This short novel is one of the products of RUDYARD KIPLING’s residence in the United States from 1892 to 1896. What Kipling described as a “boy’s LING

story” was first published in serial form in McClure’s Magazine in the United States and in Pearson’s Magazine in Britain, and in book form by Macmillan in 1897. The title comes from one of Kipling’s favorite ballads, “Mary Ambree.” Captains Courageous is a story of maturation and redemption, a pattern of action that recurs throughout Kipling’s work. It is set mostly on the Atlantic Ocean over the Grand Banks, fishing grounds off the southeast coast of Newfoundland, although later parts of the text take place in the fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and on the West Coast of the United States. The time setting is approximately the 1890s. The protagonist is Harvey Cheyne, the spoiled and arrogant son of a multimillionaire American businessman and of a weak and indulgent mother. At age 15, on a trip to Europe with his mother, Harvey falls from the liner into the sea. He is rescued by a Portuguese fisherman, Manuel, who carries him in his small fishing boat, or dory, to the schooner We’re Here, of which he is a crew member. On board the We’re Here, Harvey faces an incredulous reception from the fishermen. The captain and owner, Disko Troop, considers him mad when Harvey tells of his father’s wealth and his own importance. Troop offers him work on board the schooner (for $10.50 a month), and when Harvey indignantly and offensively refuses, strikes him. Troop’s son Dan, who is the same age as Harvey, does partly believe him, however, and during a conversation with the boy, Harvey begins to acknowledge that he has behaved badly, apologizes to Troop, and begins work aboard the We’re Here. He soon meets the entire multiethnic crew of the schooner, who return in the dories from fishing. Of these the only one who gives any credence to Harvey’s account of his background is the black cook, who is gifted with second sight and predicts that “one day he will be your master, Danny.” Immediately after his apology to Troop, Harvey begins working on the We’re Here. This occurs early in chapter 2, barely one-seventh of the way into the text. The remaining seven chapters present Harvey’s experiences of life aboard the fishing schooner as it searches for, catches, and processes fish over a summer on the Grand Banks. Harvey engages in heavy physical labor; eats food that is new to him; is educated in sailing by


crew members; gets to know them, their pasts, and their eccentricities; observes the skill of Disko Troop in finding the best fishing grounds; lives through bad weather and the varying moods of the sea; experiences the music and the traditional lore of fishermen; encounters violent death, danger, and the supernatural; and meets with the wide range of vessels and people that work on and pass through the Grand Banks. “ ’Tis beautiful to see how he takes to ut,” remarks one of the crew of the We’re Here. The last two chapters of Captains Courageous are set on shore. Harvey’s father, also called Harvey Cheyne, learns of his son’s survival and with his wife arranges a record-breaking train journey from the West Coast of the United States to Gloucester. There the parents are reunited with their son and observe the change that a few months have made in his character. Formerly spoiled and rude, Harvey has become mature. The fabulously wealthy Cheynes and the Troops learn to respect each other, the text provides more details of fishermen’s and their families’ lives, and the elder Cheyne confides in his son and offers to bring him into his business empire. The text ends with Harvey agreeing to go to college to prepare himself for his role as his father’s heir. Critics have often pointed out that Harvey’s conversion from spoiled brat to hardworking sailor is very rapid. The focus of Captains Courageous is the experiences that make him mature, rather than any internal conflicts of the protagonist. Harvey is saved by hard physical work, an encounter with the sturdily independent lower classes, and integration into a community. He learns to respect the immense skill of the fishermen and also the power and danger of the natural world. He sees death close up. Kipling did much research to get the details of life aboard an 1890s fishing schooner accurate, and critics have noted and praised the text’s realism. This includes the specifics of the Cheynes’ cross-country railway journey in chapter 9. The descriptions of the sea have also been singled out as impressive elements in the short novel. All these are aspects of Kipling’s writing as a whole, as is his use of a range of voices (different dialects, languages, and technical registers). Critics have also pointed out that Captains Courageous has a U.S. focus. Troop and

Cheyne senior embody an old/new, East/West, and labor/capital opposition that has been seen as Kipling’s allegorical vision of Gilded Age America. The multiethnic and polyglot characters, too, suggest the ethnic and linguistic variety of the late 19th-century United States. In this regard, it should be noted that Troop and Cheyne are integrated at the end (although the Cheynes are masters and the Troops men), and the diversity of characters is firmly under the control of those of AngloSaxon origin. A film version of Captains Courageous, with substantial changes to Kipling’s original plot, was a box-office success in 1937.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carrington, Charles. Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Work. London: Macmillan, 1955. Kipling, Rudyard. Something of Myself and Other Autobiographical Writings. Edited by Thomas Pinney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Ormond, Leonee. “Captains Courageous: Introduction.” The Kipling Society: Readers’ Guide. Posted October 27, 2003. Available online. URL: Accessed May 9, 2006. Stewart, J. I. M. Rudyard Kipling. London: Victor Gollancz, 1966. David Malcolm

CARTER, ANGELA (1940–92) Angela Carter’s writing went largely unappreciated until the 1980s, although she wrote her first novel, Shadow Dance, in 1965. As Lorna Sage acknowledged in her obituary after Carter’s premature death from cancer in 1992, “it wasn’t until the eighties that readers caught up with her.” Catching up, and keeping up, with Carter’s vibrant and turbulent imagination is a task well worth undertaking. Now acknowledged as one of Britain’s foremost late 20th-century writers, whose work regularly appears on university reading lists and is popular material for Ph.D. theses, Carter’s writing still retains the ability to shock and surprise, to make us see the world differently and dramatically. Born in Sussex in 1940, Carter spent her childhood in Yorkshire and London, graduating with a degree in English from Bristol University in 1965. She received some early recognition for her work when she won two


prizes: the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Magic Toyshop in 1967 and the Somerset Maugham Award for Several Perceptions in 1968. The latter of these funded her travels to Japan, where she spent several years. FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), Carter’s first collection of short stories, draws heavily on this period of her life, detailing the experience of being an outsider and an observer of life. These autobiographical elements are particularly apparent in three of the stories: “Flesh and the Mirror,” “A SOUVENIR OF JAPAN,” and “The Smile of Winter.” Dealing with loneliness, isolation, and self-identity, these stories blur the boundary between appearance and reality, as appearance, or artifice, becomes the reality. This collection includes many elements that are exploited further in Carter’s later fiction, introducing taboo topics such as incest, playing with gothic features, and questioning notions of gender and sex. As Carter acknowledged, her feminism also developed during this period. Nevertheless, Carter’s fiction displays her ambivalent relationship with the feminist movement, as she insists on an antiessentialist stance, rooting her women in material and historical conditions. This difficult association with feminism found its epitome in Carter’s reworking of the Marquis de Sade’s writings in The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History (1979), a book that upset many readers and critics with its conscious use of pornography and defense of de Sade. Despite her early success, Carter’s writing remained relatively unknown during the 1970s, as she published the novels The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1972) and The Passion of New Eve (1977). Carter’s work is deliberately revisionist, taking on and debunking myths and tales, and always challenging expectations. In the speculative dystopian world of The Passion of New Eve, Evelyn becomes Eve at the hands of a terrifying, many-breasted mother figure. Questioning notions of gender, mythology, and genre, Carter presents a fantastic, postmodern, and grotesque fiction. This impulse continues in The BLOODY CHAMBER (1979), her second collection of short stories, which takes on traditional fairy tales, already endlessly rewritten, and re-presents them with gothic, feminist, and overtly sexual elements (e.g., “PUSS-IN-BOOTS”). In “The COMPANY OF WOLVES,” Red Riding Hood and the wolf

become highly sexualized characters, developing aspects implicit in the original tales, and the girl becomes an active participant in her fate, though the ending of this story is controversial, as some critics see Red Riding Hood as complicit in her own rape. This story was later made into a film of the same name, directed by Neil Jordan. This collection began the resurgence of interest in Carter’s work, a revival that continued into the 1980s and turned into a deluge after her death. Carter’s final two novels were her most popular in many ways. Cementing Carter’s movement to a concentration on female subjects, these novels are fantastic, soaring flights of exuberant and comic imagination. Nights at the Circus (1984) sees Fevvers, a fin de siècle aerialist and possessor of real (or are they?) wings since puberty, move from a childhood in a whorehouse through a series of adventures that lead her to the Siberian woodland. It is the voice and sheer womanliness of Fevvers, an eel-pie-eating Winged Victory, that dominates this novel, and she is linked by critics such as Aidan Day with the figure of Jeanne Duval in the title story of BLACK VENUS (1985), a collection that brings together stories Carter published between 1977 and 1982 and continues Carter’s revision of myth and history. So Jeanne Duval, Charles Baudelaire’s mistress, is rescued from the objective position of muse, “my monkey, my pussy-cat, my pet,” to be portrayed as a woman with her own bad-tempered voice. And Lizzie Borden, known for the murder of her parents and a nursery rhyme based on these events, steps from the children’s rhyme to become an unmarried woman suffocated by eternal daughterhood in “The FALL RIVER AXE MURDERS.” Wise Children (1991), Carter’s last novel, moves from circus to theater to produce its own unforgettable voices in the shape of the Chance sisters and their long lives on the wrong side of the blanket: They are illegitimate daughters of the great Shakespearian actor Sir Melchior Hazard. The Lucky Chances present a tumbling, boundary-defying family history many see as the best narrative Carter produced. Carter’s work has always challenged expectations and categorization, from gender to genre. Trying to fit her novels and stories into boxes, critics have labeled it magic realism, dystopian fiction, science fiction, and


even pornography. Her wide-ranging intellect and impressive imagination make her work an intertextual paradise, in which Shakespeare revels with the 20thcentury French philosopher Jacques Derrida and Hollywood meets fairy tale. Consisting of nine novels, four collections of short stories (her last, American Ghosts and Old World Wonders, was published posthumously in 1993), three collections of nonfiction pieces, and a variety of essays, articles, and scripts, Carter’s oeuvre is no less extensive than her imagination. (See also “The LADY OF THE HOUSE OF LOVE.”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carter, Angela. American Ghosts and Old World Wonders. 1993. London: Vintage, 1994. ———. Black Venus. 1985. London: Vintage, 1996. ———. The Bloody Chamber. 1979. London: Vintage, 1995. ———. Fireworks. 1974. London: Virago, 1988. ———. Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings. London: Chatto and Windus, 1997. Day, Aidan. Angela Carter: The Rational Glass. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998. Gamble, Sarah. Angela Carter: Writing from the Front Line. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. Gamble, Sarah, ed. The Fiction of Angela Carter: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. Sage, Lorna. “The Soaring Imagination,” Guardian, 17 February 1992, p. 37. Sarah J. Falcus

CHESTERTON, GILBERT KEITH (1874– 1936) Born in Campden Hill, London, on May 29, 1874, Gilbert Keith Chesterton was the first son of Edward Chesterton, an estate agent, and Marie Louise Grosjean; his brother, Cecil, was born in 1879. Chesterton was a day pupil at St. Paul’s preparatory school in Hammersmith from 1887 to 1892, where he participated in the junior debating club, an experience that would set the stage for a life of intellectual debate in many forms: short fiction, essays, and journalism. In 1893 Chesterton entered University College, London, taking classes in Latin, French, and English. His focus was the study of fine arts at the Slade School, and he intended to become a book illustrator. He left the university without a degree in 1895, and he declares in his

Autobiography that it was the most troubling period of his life. Chesterton pronounces the L’art pour l’art movement and French decadence as nihilistic and decries impressionism, then in vogue, as “obviously something highly subjective and sceptical. . . . It naturally lends itself to the metaphysical suggestion that things only exist as we perceive them, or that things do not exist at all. The philosophy of Impressionism is necessarily close to the philosophy of Illusion” (1937, 89). This profound rejection of a Nietzschean universe “beyond good and evil” resonates in all of Chesterton’s writing, and the spiritual crisis of his years at the Slade mark the beginning of his conversion from conventional, middle-class Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism in 1922. One of his earliest short stories, “The Diabolist,” describes this crisis of conscience at the Slade. The narrator encounters a red-haired gentleman who questions his orthodoxy, asking, like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, “shall I not find in evil a life of its own?” The narrator rejects this philosophy, rushing past a fire in the streets: “I did not know whether it was hell or the furious love of God.” “The Diabolist” first appeared in November 1907 in the Daily News and, along with a selection of other short fiction, was published in Tremendous Trifles in 1909. After leaving the Slade, Chesterton found work in the publishing house Redway and then with T. Fisher Unwin, where he remained until 1902. He met Frances Blogg in 1896 and married her in 1901. Two volumes of his poetry appeared in 1900, Greybeards at Play and The Wild Knight and Other Poems; neither was a financial success, but the early years of the new century marked Chesterton’s entry into the world of professional journalism, and he began to contribute essays and short stories to a variety of journals. In 1902 the Daily News gave Chesterton an opinion column; in 1905 he moved to a weekly column in the Illustrated London News, which he would write for the next 30 years. Chesterton’s writing career was prolific and diverse, with 80 books, 4,000 essays, and more than 200 short stories to his credit. His love of argument, inculcated at St. Paul’s, led to a series of public debates with many of the eminent wits of his age, most notably George Bernard Shaw and H. G. WELLS, both of whom became lifelong friends despite their often extreme differences of opinion on


spiritual, literary, and political matters. Chesterton’s reputation as an apologist for Christian orthodoxy is perhaps his most enduring intellectual legacy, and many of his essays on spiritual life remain in print. Orthodoxy, subtitled “The Romance of Faith” and published in 1908, “is not an ecclesiastical treatise but a sort of slovenly autobiography,” as Chesterton writes in the introduction. Dale Alquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, argues for Orthodoxy’s centrality to the Chesterton oeuvre. The essay/narrative of Chesterton’s journey from the “insanity” of reason to the “paradox” of faith “is a mystery. It is a knot that cannot be untied. But while the modern intellectual may choke on the paradox, it is the daily bread of the common man. Because the common man has something that the modern intellectual is sadly lackin: common sense” (Alquist, 25). Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922, at age 48, and was an eloquent defender of the faith for the rest of his life. Chesterton is most famous for Father Brown, the unassuming hero of 49 short detective stories. Chesterton began writing about the Catholic priest who moonlights as an amateur sleuth in 1911, when he published the first of five collections, The Innocence of Father Brown. Father Brown follows in the footsteps of ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’s Sherlock Holmes, but he represents the common man, without the aesthetic excesses and scientific precision of Doyle’s character. Father Brown solves crimes through his insights into the shared condition of humanity as a fallen people; all are sinful, and all are capable of redemption. In “The Secret of Father Brown” (1927), the small, shabbily dressed priest explains that he is able to solve crimes because he has committed them himself, not literally yet not figuratively, either: “I mean that I thought and thought about how a man might come to be like that, until I realized that I really was like that, in everything except actual final consent to action” (Best of Father Brown, 5). Through Christian empathy he is able to understand the motivations of the killers and thieves who populate the stories, and therefore Father Brown is granted insight into both the crimes and the follies of human existence that they represent. Father Brown represents a sort of Everyman with a keen eye, and the stories are perfect puzzles of human

motivation, in which every necessary clue to solving the puzzle is set before the reader. Father Brown’s instincts are generally sharper than those of the average reader, yet the final revelation is always something that anyone mindful of the clues and insightful about human nature could have discovered for himself. This accessibility makes the Father Brown stories unusual in the genre of detective fiction, which often introduces plot elements in order to produce the final revelation. Chesterton considered these conventional last-minute plot twists insulting, insisting that readers enjoy being fooled but not tricked. As Alquist writes, Chesterton “loved being surprised to learn that the countess had killed the professor. But he hated to be introduced to the countess for the first time at the very tail end of the story” (163). Large in body (6′4″ and weighing nearly 300 lbs.) and large in reputation during his lifetime, Chesterton today receives scant critical attention, and while much of his work remains in print, his stories are not often included in the major student anthologies. Two critical journals, the Chesterton Review, distributed by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and Gilbert Magazine, published by the American Chesterton Society, work to keep his philosophies and his literature in the public eye. While much of the critical literature devoted to Chesterton remains hagiographic in nature, recent studies such as Mark Knight’s Chesterton and Evil (2004) and John Coates’s G. K. Chesterton as Controverialist, Essayist, Novelist and Critic (2002) place Chesterton within the slippery cultural context of the first decades of the 20th century. Knight argues convincingly that Chesterton’s work is undervalued in part because he cannot be located “within the framework of modernism” (2) and suggests that the Edwardian period is critically neglected as the space of transition from the fin de siècle culture of the decadents to the modernism of Bloomsbury and Joyce. Falling into a space between major cultural movements and belonging to neither, Chesterton is perceived as culturally conservative and distinctly middlebrow in his concerns. Alquist’s The Apostle of Common Sense celebrates Chesterton for his wit and wisdom and for the timely relevance of his spiritual guidance in an increasingly secular world. (See also “The SECRET GARDEN,” “The HAMMER OF GOD,” and “The BLUE CROSS.”)


BIBLIOGRAPHY Alquist, Dale G. K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003. Chesterton, G. K. All Things Considered. London: Methuen & Co., 1908. ———. Autobiography. London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1937. ———. The Best of Father Brown. London: Dent, 1987. ———. The Club of Queer Trades. London: Penguin Books, 1984. ———. The Incredulity of Father Brown. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1958. ———. The Innocence of Father Brown. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. ———. The Man Who Knew Too Much. London: Darwen Finlayson, 1961. ———. Orthodoxy. London: Bodley Head, 1927. ———. The Scandal of Father Brown. London: Cassell, 1935. ———. The Secret of Father Brown. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1974. ———. Tales of the Long Bow. London: Cassell, 1925. ———. Tremendous Trifles. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1909. ———. The Wisdom of Father Brown. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1974. Coates, John. Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis. Hull, England: Hull University Press, 1984. ———. G. K. Chesterton as Controversialist, Essayist, Novelist and Critic. Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002. Conlon, Denis J., ed. G. K. Chesterton: A Half Century of Views. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. Coren, Michael. Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton. London: Jonathan Cape, 1989. Ffinch, Michael. G. K. Chesterton: A Biography. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986. Knight, Mark. Chesterton and Evil. New York: Fordham University Press, 2004. Pearce, Joseph. Wisdom & Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001. Lisa Weihman

CHRISTIE, AGATHA (AGATHA MARY CLARISSA MILLER CHRISTIE MALLOWAN) (1890–1976) Agatha Christie is one of the most popular detective fiction writers of the 20th century. She wrote 76 novels, 158 short stories, and 15 plays. She also wrote and published several books of poetry.

Born in Torquay, England, on September 15, 1890, at the family home Ashfield to Clara “Clarissa” Miller (neé Boehmer) and Frederick Alvah Miller, Agatha was the third and last child in the family. She was educated at home until her mother decided that she should go to a finishing school in Paris in 1906 at age 16. In 1910, she left finishing school and returned to live with her mother at Ashfield; her father had died in 1901. As a young woman in her early 20s, Agatha had many proposals of marriage but finally accepted Archibald Christie, an officer in the Royal Flying Corps. They were married on December 24, 1914, and two days later Archibald left for the war. Agatha Christie was 24 and already working as a volunteer nurse at Torbay Hospital in Torquay. While working at the hospital Christie was offered a position working in the dispensary. It is clear from reading her autobiography, published posthumously in 1977, that working in the dispensary contributed to her knowledge and understanding of how to use and administer drugs of all kinds, especially poisons. While she worked in the dispensary she began writing her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). Encouraged by her husband, Agatha Christie submitted her first novel for publication to Methuen. Methuen rejected the manuscript, citing that it was not suitable material for the press; after trying another publisher, Christie finally settled on The Bodley Head. Published in 1920, this novel introduced one of literature’s most famous detectives, second only to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot. Her first novel sold 2,000 copies, but Christie only received £25 for her efforts. Under her contract with The Bodley Head she had no royalty rights, nor did she have serial rights to her work; the serial rights were sold to the Weekly Times for £50. Thus were the pitiful beginnings of what would ultimately become an illustrious literary career. Archibald and Agatha Christie divorced in April 1928. Agatha Christie married her second husband, Max Mallowan, on September 11, 1930. Christie met Mallowan while visiting the archeologist Leonard Woolley and his wife, Katharine, in Iraq. Mallowan was 14 years younger than Agatha, but their marriage was far happier than her first. Throughout their marriage Agatha helped Max with his archeological work. She learned how to photograph the pottery that was


unearthed at the sites and to catalog her husband’s findings. Christie kept her first married name because her publishers, William Collins Sons and Co., Ltd., with whom she had signed in 1922, felt that she had made her literary reputation with that name and therefore, the name was important in continuing to please her reading public. However, in her private life she was always known as Mrs. Agatha Mallowan. Christie was comfortable writing in different genres, and by the time she published her first novel she had already written many poems; a collection called The Road of Dreams was published in 1924. She published six novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott: Giant’s Bread (1930), Unfinished Portrait (1934), Absent in the Spring (1944), The Rose and the Yew Tree (1948), A Daughter’s a Daughter (1952), and The Burden (1956). Christie is also credited with writing the longest-running play on the London stage: The Mousetrap, written in 1951, opened on October 6, 1952, at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham; and the play is still being performed daily at its permanent home in London at St. Martins Theatre. Whatever genre Christie was working with when writing her detective stories, her gifts was creating interesting puzzles for her readers to solve. It was unnecessary for readers to see the details of gory crimes; the excitement of a Christie story was unraveling the clues. What made Christie’s stories so ingenious was her ability to complicate her plots in the simplest of ways. She deliberately sent the reader on a false trail by initially focusing on the real criminal as a prime suspect in a case. However, she would then produce clues that drew the reader’s attention to an innocent person, easily leading the reader down the incorrect path. Christie’s ability to manipulate the reader served her well; her detective fiction remains as popular today as it was when it was first published. Although known primarily as a novelist, Christie was also a prolific short story writer. To retain her own and her reader’s interest in the short stories, Christie took the opportunity to reintroduce readers to certain detectives whom she had already developed in her novels. In her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, she introduced her now famous Belgian detective, Poirot. Consequently, when she was asked to put

together a book of short stories, she once again turned to Poirot. Poirot Investigates was published in 1924, and The Big Four was published in 1927. Both sets of short stories were mostly culled from the magazine the Sketch, albeit with a few stories written quickly to round out the two volumes. It seems, however, that although Poirot was very popular with readers, Christie herself was disappointed that she had made him so old. This was a regret that she also had with Miss Jane Marple, who begins life in The Murder at the Vicarage (1930) at about 65 or 70, but then never grows any older. Christie also chose to publish four volumes in which she writes six stories each about her two famous detectives. These volumes are The Regatta Mystery (1939), Three Blind Mice (1950), The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (1960), and Double Sin (1961). Although Christie produced more than 158 short stories, she seems to have felt that this was an inadequate genre for the detective story. She writes in An Autobiography that “[t]he short-story technique, I think, is not really suited to the detective story at all. A thriller, possibly—but a detective story, no” (349). She goes on to explain that “the right length for a detective story is fifty-thousand words . . . [sometimes] . . . sixty thousand or seventy thousand are more acceptable” and palatable to the reading public (348). In other words, Christie believed that the novel was a better vehicle for her detective stories. However, there are several detectives whom Christie never introduced in a novel and whom she developed only for the short story. She especially liked Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite in The Mysterious Mr. Quin (1930). She wrote about Mr. Quin only when the mood struck her; he was a special character to her from her childhood, and therefore she refused to write a series of Mr. Quin stories for any one magazine. Mr. Parker Pyne in Parker Pyne Investigates (1934) is not a detective but a retired civil servant who considers himself concerned with matters of the heart. Christie also wrote two volumes of short stories that did not have detectives in their plots. The Hound of Death (1933) was a volume of stories about the supernatural world, and The Listerdale Mystery (1934) focuses on stories about deception and romantic love.


Agatha Christie was recognized formally for her literary achievements in 1956 when she was named a Commander of the British Empire. In 1971, she was further recognized for her place in English literature and the arts by being declared Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. She died on January 12, 1976, at age 85. (See also DETECTIVE FICTION.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bunson, Matthew. The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. Christie, Agatha. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1960. ———. An Autobiography. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1977. ———. The Big Four. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1927. ———. Double Sin. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1961. ———. The Hound of Death. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1933. ———. The Labours of Hercules. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1947. ———. The Mysterious Mr. Quin. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1930. ———. Parker Pyne Investigates. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1934. ———. Partners in Crime. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1929. ———. Poirot Investigates. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1924. ———. The Regatta Mystery. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1939. ———. The Road of Dreams. London: Geoffrey Bles Publishers, 1924. ———. Star over Bethlehem. London: William Collins Sons and Co., 1965. ———. Three Blind Mice. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1950. Gill, Gillian. Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. New York: The Free Press, 1990. Rowland, Susan. From Agatha Christie to Ruth Rendell: British Women Writers in Detective and Crime Fiction. Houndmills, England: Palgrave, 2001. Barbara Tilley

CHRISTMAS CAROL, A CHARLES DICKENS (1843) The first of CHARLES DICKENS’s Christmas Books, A Christmas Carol in Prose; Being a Ghost Story of

Christmas is a fairy-tale-like ghost story that has contributed much to the formation of the Christmas story as a genre. Written in October and November 1843, it was specifically produced for the Christmas season, which began to be transformed into and was increasingly commercialized as a family celebration during the mid-Victorian era. A Christmas Carol was followed by The Chimes (1844), The Cricket on the Hearth (1845), The Battle of Life (1846), and The HAUNTED MAN (1848). The story recounts the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge’s spiritual transformation through four ghostly visitations. “[A] squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner . . . secret, and selfcontained, and solitary as an oyster,” he is “an excellent man of business on the very day of [his partner’s] funeral,” which he “solemnised . . . with an undoubted bargain” (7–8). As the opening thus assures the reader of Jacob Marley’s death seven years earlier, it moreover emphasizes Scrooge’s spiritual death-in-life. Scrooge then ridicules his nephew’s seasonal greetings, begrudges his clerk his half-holiday, and repulses charitable organizations, which he regards as interference with the natural “decrease [of] the surplus population” (12). He has little patience with the trappings or the spirit of Christmas: “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!” (10). At home in his “gloomy suite of rooms” (14), he finds them haunted, as the knocker is transformed into Marley’s face. Scrooge soon hears an ominous clinking of chains, and Marley’s ghost appears through the door, dragging, like a tail, a chain made of “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel” (17). The ghost’s gothic paraphernalia have been updated to suit the Victorian businessman. Marley has come to warn Scrooge that his dead partner’s fate might become his own, yet he promises hope of escape. Scrooge is to be haunted by three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The first ghost takes Scrooge on a journey back in time, which reflects the Victorians’ growing fascination with time travel. Scrooge sees “his poor forgotten self as he used to be” (27) at school and then working at a warehouse, increasingly


eaten up by “the master-passion, Gain” (34). Vicariously reliving the past, he weeps over his childhood self, remembers his nephew as he sees his now-dead sister, and compares the joyful family Christmas of his old love with his own loneliness. His sympathy with humankind reawakened, he welcomes the Ghost of Christmas Present to teach him another “lesson” (40). He is led to see the festive joy in the suburban dwelling of his clerk, Bob Cratchit, overshadowed by Tiny Tim’s declining health, and with horror, he notices two wretched children, Ignorance and Want, the outgrowths of human indifference, attached to the ghost. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come proceeds to show him his own death, his corpse “plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for” (64). As Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Day, he rejoices in a new “glorious” day (72). Feeling reborn, he goes forth to send a prize turkey to the Cratchits, donates money, and becomes “as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew” (76). As its full title, A Christmas Carol in Prose; Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, promises, the story experiments with different genres (Miller, passim). The preface announces it as a “Ghostly little book” aimed to “raise the Ghost of an Idea” to “haunt [the readers’] houses pleasantly.” While Ebenezer Scrooge is clearly meant to be frightened into compliance with the spirit of Christmas, the description of his encounters with the ghosts remains intently humorous, at times verging on the comical. Thus, when alerted to the “ponderous chain” that will fetter him after his death, “Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable” (19). Haunted by the ghost of his former bunsiness partner Jacob Marley, he likewise attempts to exorcise the vision by blaming it on a “disorder of the stomach”: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” (18). Yet his jokes, as his reliance on a commonsense rejection of the supernatural, quickly wear thin. If Scrooge dismissed the Christmas spirit with his famous exclamation, “Bah! [. . .] Humbug!” (9), in the opening chapter,

after the first visitation, he “tried to say ’Humbug!’ but stopped at the first syllable” (22). The story’s popularity has rested as much in the brilliant simplicity of the tale as in its evocation of 19th-century London and Victorian Christmas festivities. Peter Ackroyd speaks of “the poor, the ignorant, the diseased, the wretched” beyond the hearth, who induce us to “enjoy the flames of the Christmas fire more because of the very shadows which it casts” (414). Yet its themes have also been seen as peculiarly modern and ultimately contemporary. The 1988 film Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, recast Dickens’s tight-fisted businessman as a successful yuppie; a 2000 film version more directly turned him into a loan shark. The countless adaptations also include a Disney production in 1983, with Scrooge McDuck appropriately playing Scrooge; The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992); and Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988), evincing the extent to which Scrooge’s story (Davis, passim) has entered popular culture.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ackroyd, Peter. Dickens. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1990. Collins, Philip. “The Reception and Status of the Carol,” Dickensian 89 (1993): 170–172. Davis, Paul. The Lives and Times of Ebenezer Scrooge. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Edited by Eleanor Farjeon. 1954. Reprint, London: Oxford University Press, 1966. Miller, J. Hillis. “The Genres of A Christmas Carol,” Dickensian 89 (1993): 193–206. Tamara Wagner

“CLAP HANDS, HERE COMES CHARLIE” BERYL BAINBRIDGE (1985) The decline of British power and influence in the international sphere following WORLD WAR II was paralleled by substantial changes in life in Britain. The cherished, if idealistic, version of England as a “green and pleasant land” was subject to the strains of postwar urban development, and the concept of a common culture that comforted even those who were essentially excluded from most of its benefits began to dissolve in the face of radical changes accelerated by the rise of a surly, disaffected generation seething with contempt for the traditional symbols of English life.


BERYL BAINBRIDGE’s “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie” focuses on a working-class family riven by a generational divide that is intensified by their precarious economic status and compounded by a clash in cultural values. Charlie Henderson, the middle-aged “head” of the household, lives in a state of permanent vexation at his inability to provide either a sufficient income or any sense of direction for his family. His son Alec, still living at home and educated beyond his employment prospects, maintains a mordantly ironic perspective toward everything. Mrs. Henderson, a cleaning woman, tries to encourage a relatively civil level of discourse in their high-rise apartment but is nonplussed by Alec’s apparent total disrespect for his father. For Charlie, the real problem is that they no longer live “in a proper house”; he regrets the absence of a garden plot, an accessible street, even windows that can be opened—small but significant symbols of the old ways. The benefits of efficient plumbing no longer seem sufficient compensation for living “as though inside the cabin of an aeroplane.” As the story opens, Mrs. Henderson has been given tickets to a performance of Peter Pan by an employer who feels that offering money as a Christmas bonus “is so degrading,” although Mrs. Henderson, aware of the necessity for adequate compensation for labor, “had never, when accepting money, felt degraded.” On the night of the performance, the Hendersons are joined by their daughter Moira and her uncontrollable son Wayne; this begins a continuing series of small crises involving Alec’s wild driving and Charlie’s futile attempts to gain some degree of control over Alec’s antics. During the trip, Charlie begins to muse about how much the area has changed, recalling with nostalgic fondness “men playing football in the street” of a living village, to which Alec rejoins that the “whole area had never been anything but a slum,” dismissing Charlie’s recollections as “Never-never land.” The reference to J. M. Barrie’s well-known play Peter Pan leads toward the second part of the story. Here, the narrative moves from an omniscient perspective to a detailed record of Charlie’s responses as the play commences. Charlie finds the first act “old fashioned and cosy,” and then dozes through the second and third acts, dreaming of fishing in an old canal where “a

damn big crocodile crawled up the bank with a clock ticking inside it.” During the intermission, Alec interprets the action as “obvious. Mr. Darling longs to murder his offspring,” declaring, “Like fathers in real life. They’re always out to destroy their children,” to which Charlie hisses “He talks a load of codswallop. I’d like to throttle him.” As the play approaches its famous conclusion, Charlie suffers a heart attack, receding into unconsciousness as the audience is exhorted to “clap for Tinkerbell.” While the entire audience is totally captivated by the imaginative power of the dramatic presentation, Charlie’s gasps for help are dismissed as a distraction. “Shut up, Charlie,” Mrs. Henderson cries, in thrall to the entreaties of Peter Pan to revive Tinkerbell while Charlie, a veritable “lost boy,” slides away from a world in which he no longer has a place.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bainbridge, Beryl. Collected Stories. London: Penguin, 1994. Leon Lewis


Class is a key dimension of character and a principal motivator of conflict in British fiction. In sociology the term refers to socioeconomic distinctions causally related to differences in power and opportunity, applying to groups and individuals distinguished by their class positions: upper (aristocratic), middle (professional), and working (manual labor). The most prominent and controversial approach to the issue of class derives from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s mid19th-century declaration in The Communist Manifesto that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.” This claim sets the tone for Marxist literature and criticism and for an emphasis on class consciousness in the analysis of culture. Class analysis in this lineage has provided a model for dealing with other dimensions of social difference, including those relating to gender, ethnicity, language, and culture. While other prominent theories of class (for instance, those of Max Weber) have influenced literary criticism, Marxist materialism, emphasizing the primacy of “objective conditions,” allows cultural processes and products to be judged in terms of the economic realities present to subjects inside and outside the text. Seen in this


light, fiction and criticism draw attention either to or away from the existence of class difference, tension, or animosity. While class distinctions may have diminished in importance in British society, especially through the 20th century, fiction in the British tradition may be regarded as typically class-conscious compared with writing from the United States. In the pre-Victorian period class difference and distinction were major themes in the works of Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice (1813). Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) may be read as a study of class creation (the birth of the proletariat) brought on by the Industrial Revolution. Later Emily Brontë’s 1847 Wuthering Heights provides a poignant study of the ruinous interaction of romantic interests and class consciousness, while many of ANTHONY TROLLOPE’s stories focus on the trials and tribulations of the new professional middle-classes—lawyers, clergymen, doctors, engineers—and their attempts to rise in the world. Elsewhere the most prominent fiction writers dealing with class relations are ELIZABETH GASKELL and CHARLES DICKENS. At the end of the century an interest in the aristocracy makes itself felt in OSCAR WILDE’s writings of the 1890s; here the aristocracy, who live off the income from land, are objects of glamor, admiration, and deference but also satire. In contrast, ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’s Sherlock Holmes character, though himself a Bohemian, serves middleclass interests, protecting society threatened by such clever evil-doers as Dr. Moriarty. By this time, thanks in part to the interest in naturalism, writers like ARTHUR MORRISON and ISAAC ZANGWILL had begun to focus their attention on working-class characters and problems. Although striking encounters between the classes occur in E. M. FORSTER’s “ARTHUR SNATCHFOLD” and KATHERINE MANSFIELD’s “The GARDEN-PARTY,” it has been argued that D. H. LAWRENCE is the most classconscious of 20th-century short story writers. In Lawrence’s “The HORSE DEALER’S DAUGHTER,” the money nexus in class mobility is clearly sketched in Mabel’s situation: “[S]o long as there was money, the girl felt herself established, and brutally proud, reserved.” Through the character of an ailing doctor, Jack Fergusson, the story also provides the reader with a view into working-class life, a view characteristic of Lawrence’s

works more generally: “Nothing but work, drudgery, constantly hastening from dwelling to dwelling among the colliers and iron-workers.” However, the story also points out the dignity of labor: “It was a stimulant to him to be in the homes of the working people, moving as it were through the innermost body of their life. His nerves were excited and gratified. He could come so near, into the very lives of the rough, inarticulate, powerfully emotional men and women.” The clash between particular class interests is also a theme in SOMERSET MAUGHAM’s 1926 story “The Outstation,” in which the context of colonial Malaya allows issues of class and race to interact. The resident’s life and duties as the highest authority in a remote area are ones in which class position and mobility, as they exist in England, have no relevance, yet class was and is always Mr. Warburton’s principal motivation: “It was marvelous to watch the ingenuity he used to mention his distant relationship to the noble family he belonged to; but never a word did he say of the honest Liverpool manufacturer from whom, through his mother, a Miss Gubbins, he had come by his fortune. It was the terror of his fashionable life that at Cowes, maybe, or at Ascot, when he was with a duchess or even with a prince of the blood, one of these relatives would claim acquaintance with him.” Through this protagonist we see class pretensions and the sheen of noble birth presented as all-encompassing and powerful. Warburton’s antagonist is his assistant Cooper, a man born and bred in the colonies, who dresses in the native style but finds himself in constant and finally fatal conflict with the Malays because—according to Warburton—he cannot “draw the line.” On meeting Warburton, Cooper expresses the view that “the war has done one good thing for us. . . . It’s smashed up the power of the aristocracy.” He expounds for his superior’s benefit his vision of a snob-free, if not classless, future, “a business government by business men. I was born in a Crown Colony and I’ve lived practically all my life in the colonies. I don’t give a row of pins for a lord. What’s wrong with England is snobbishness. And if there’s anything that gets my goat it’s a snob.” When Warburton’s request to his superiors to have Cooper removed is refused, he is told that he attaches too much importance to a man’s position and that times have changed.


Changing attitudes also make themselves felt, albeit more slyly, in P. G. WODEHOUSE’s comic Jeeves stories of the 1920s and 1930s. Here the idle aristocracy on the wane has a duty to keep up impressions but may not be in the best position to know how this is done. Bertie Wooster’s man Jeeves—“a brainy chap”—is not only is constantly lauded as more intelligent than his boss but has a better conception than his master of how a Wooster can fulfill the gentlemanly expectations his extended family and society have of him. The fun is in the contradictions implied by this class collaboration, the function of which is to keep the world in proper order. The Jeeves stories provide the middleclass reader with a fantasy of the idle life and the American reader with a fantasy of the old English world of immutable values. In either case an opportunity is afforded to read the world’s uncomfortable bustle from above. After World War II, the class map of Britain slowly changed, “removing many of the frameworks through which social roles and English identities had once been defined,” as Randall Stevenson puts it in The Last of England?, his study of the period from 1960 to 2000. Yet it is still the case, as Stevenson argues, that “England did end the period as it began, with social stratifications still more clear-cut than almost anywhere else in the world” (3). Differences in accent still remain, as does the presence of what we might call, for want of a better word, an “under-class,” people disenfranchised, unemployed, and living outside the system. In fictional terms, class, law, and multiple forms of transgression have provided themes for WILL SELF and for IRVINE WELSH’s stories in The ACID HOUSE (1994). Welsh’s working-class characters are presented as routinely beyond the law. In the story “The Shooter,” class and dialect are conflated, so that the protagonist narrator slips seamlessly in and out of the story’s framing dialogue. First-person narration distinguishes the protagonist from the dangerous Gal, in whose service he appears to be half-willingly enlisted. Gal is newly released from prison and is a character with scores to settle. Despite the first-person delivery, the protagonist appears to have quite different intellectual and class pretensions when in dialogue and when narrating.

—So what’re ye saying, Gal? —Either we forget it, or we make him take us seriously I let his words play round inside my head, checking and double-checking their implication, an implication in reality I had instantly recognized. —So what dae we dae? Just as D. H. Lawrence’s medical man in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” offers the middle-class reader a glimpse of the grimier life, so in Welsh’s story the vicarious excitement of danger among the under-class is easily conveyed through identification with a character capable of educated middle-class diction. Ability to intellectualize guarantees in the end, however, neither moral nor tactical advantage. The protagonist ends the story with a sawn-off shotgun pointed in his face, accompanied with the words, “I heard that you were seeing quite a bit of my missus when I was inside mate.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Lawrence, D. H. England, My England and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1995. Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998. Maugham, W. Somerset. The Collected Short Stories. London: Penguin, 1977. Stevenson, Randall. The Last of England? Oxford English Literary History. 1960–2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Welsh, Irvine. The Acid House. London: Cape, 1994. Wiener, Martin. English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850–1980. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Wolfreys, Julian, and William Baker, eds. Literary Theories. London: Macmillan, 1996. Christoper Kelen

CLIFFORD, LUCY (1846–1929) The widow of a celebrated mathematician, William K. Clifford (d. 1879), Lucy (Mrs. W. K.) Clifford wrote novels and plays to support herself and their two young daughters. She was close friends with HENRY JAMES and many other literary personalities of the day. She became


famous in her own right with her novel Mrs. Keith’s Crime (1885), in which a terminally ill widow kills her dying daughter instead of leaving her to die alone. The novel was striking for its first-person narrative, which looks forward to the stream-of-consciousness technique adopted by the next generation of modernist writers. Many of Clifford’s other novels concern vulnerable women who are brutalized by men or women but find the strength of character to act according to their consciences rather than societal expectations. Disparaged in later life by an envious VIRGINIA WOOLF as a hack, Clifford was nonetheless a skillful and innovative writer who achieved a good deal of popularity. Publishing short stories in a variety of popular magazines gave her a wide audience, even though her work was often considered depressing in its refusal to romanticize male-female relationships. Clifford’s work fell out of favor after WORLD WAR I but recent reevaluations have begun to place her work in the tradition of NEW WOMAN writers, thanks to her portrayals of independent women struggling for survival in a world that does not value them. These include “The END OF HER JOURNEY” (1887) and the novella “A Woman Alone” (1898). Notable too are her stories for children, including “The Mother” and “Wooden Tony,” the study of an autistic child.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chishol, Monty, and Marysa Demoor, eds. “Bravest of Women and Finest of Friends”: Henry James’ Letters to Lucy Clifford. Victoria, Canada: University of Victoria, 1999. Clifford, Lucy. Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise. London: Warne, 1882. ———. The Last Touches and Other Stories. London: Black, 1892. ———. A Woman Alone. London: Macmillan, 1898. DeMoor, Marysa. “Self-Fashioning at the Turn of the Century,” Journal of Victorian Culture 4 (1999): 276–291. Silver, Anna K. “The Didactic Carnivalesque in Lucy Lane Clifford’s The Mother,” Studies in English Literature 40, no. 4 (2000): 727–737. Andrew Maunder

COCK AND BULL WILL SELF (1992) A literary sensation on the strength of his breakout collection of interwoven short stories—1991’s The Quantity The-

ory of Insanity—WILL SELF continued to impress with 1992’s Cock and Bull, a pair of novellas that take conventional notions of gender and turn them inside out. Inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, in which Gregor Samsa wakes up one day to find himself turned into a giant insect, Self offers the story of Carol, a woman whose clitoris lengthens into a penis, and John Bull, a man who grows a vagina behind his knee. In both cases Self examines the impact these physical metamorphoses have on the gender identity of his protagonists. Critics and reviewers did not quite know what to make of Cock and Bull’s absurdist premise. Some applaud its playful approach to gender (Harbord). Others accuse it of being too clever by half and of using dexterous wordplay to obscure what is a vulgar sort of determinism (Kakutani). The confusion is understandable because the author himself claims to be undecided, explaining that, when asked what the story is about: I’d give various answers: that it was about my rage with feminist arguments that all men are rapists by virtue of possessing the requisite weapon; that it was about the breakdown in gender distinctions which implied that all it was to be either one or the other was a mix and match of the requisite parts; that it was about my own nature, for, as Cocteau remarked, all true artists are hermaphrodites. (2006, 285)

Ultimately, Self suggests that the question can be boiled down to this: Is gender biologically or culturally determined? Taking Carol as our example, we can conclude that the answer is, quite simply, yes. At first glance, Carol appears to be a blatant instance of biological determinism. Her growing penis provides a masculine sense of empowerment—“an acute awareness of a solid and mechanical species of causation in the world” (54)—while it also fuels her aggressive tendencies, culminating in rape. And yet Carol’s metamorphosis has cultural rather than biological origins. Significantly, her penis emerges at the very moment she becomes aware of her hapless husband’s shortcomings: Ruled by the bottle and his overbearing mother, Dan turns out to be not much of a man. His abdication


of a strong male role leaves the relations between the sexes out of balance (at least, as traditionally conceived). Carol’s penis thus emerges as a biological response to a cultural imperative, rushing in to fill the void left by Dan’s deficient masculinity. Cock is also about the nature of narrative itself, suggesting that the experience of gender needs to be understood as a story we tell about ourselves. Crucially, the story of Carol and hapless Dan comes to us at a remove. Cock is narrated to a nameless listener by a character described only as a fussy university don. His account of Carol’s metamorphosis is increasingly interrupted by a variety of hateful rants, culminating in a vicious attack on his listener, who, as he is being raped, realizes that the don is none other than the newly empowered Carol. Her penis has prompted a masculinity that is toxic in its attitude toward otherness, which must be relentlessly feminized and dominated through both words and brute force. If Cock concludes that the penis makes the man, Bull explores the impact of a wayward vagina on the lad. John Bull, British Everyman, wakes up one morning to find a vagina nestled behind his knee. Convincing himself that it is a burn or wound, Bull immediately consults his doctor. This is in sharp contrast to Carol, who, glorying in her “frond,” has absolutely no intention of seeking treatment. Dr. Margoulies, Bull’s sleazy general practitioner, calms his hysterical patient down, though he is less interested in his Bull’s well-being than in the erotic potential of his new orifice, an obsession with tragicomic implications. Beyond Bull and Carol’s shocking transformation, their interactions with secondary characters provide occasion for Self to develop themes that he would continue to obsess over throughout the 1990s. Foremost among them is an abiding suspicion of the medical establishment’s claims on what constitutes mental health. Starting with The Quantity Theory of Insanity, the target of Self’s satire is the scientific obsession with measuring, classifying, quantifying—the indignities of attempting to reduce subjective experience to a function of objective knowledge. As such, two characters in particular come in for harsh treatment. Dave 2—Dan’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in Cock—is the perfect foil for Self’s merciless send-up of the banal affirmations of therapy.

Meanwhile, Dr. Margoulies, who soothes Bull’s anxiety over his “troublesome gash” while plotting his seduction, is a stand-in for the mendacity of modern medicine.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Harbord, Janet. “Performing Parts: Gender and Sexuality in Recent Fiction and Theory,” Women: A Cultural Review 7, no. 1 (Spring 1996), 39–47. Kakutani, Michiko. “Comic Novellas on Metamorphoses,” New York Times, 31 May 1993, p. 20. Self, Will. Cock and Bull. London: Bloomsbury, 1992. ———. Junk Mail. New York: Black Cat, 2006. Matt Kavanagh

COLLECTIONS AND ANTHOLOGIES The rise of the periodical in the 19th and early 20th century fostered the development of the modern short story. It also spawned another literary genre, the short story collection. Because MAGAZINES refused to print stories already having appeared in collections, most writers of the period wrote stories expressly, if not exclusively, for magazine publication. Unlike the large advances publishers offered for novels, short story collections generated only minimal revenue for their authors through royalties based on a per-book basis. Nor did the genre offer much financial return for its publishers. Dean Baldwin’s archival research has demonstrated that short story collections “seldom if ever became top sellers and frequently barely broke even” (37). Understandably then, short story collections accounted for less than 5 percent of new books published in Britain between 1919 and 1939 (40). Still, a majority of prominent 19th- and early 20thcentury writers published short story collections. The genre represented a stepping-stone to a successful career, particularly for young, unpublished writers looking to forge relationships in the literary marketplace. Forward-thinking publishers who recognized an as yet undiscovered talent would eagerly purchase an author’s short stories at a relatively low price in exchange for first option on the author’s first novel. One result of this process was, and continues to be, that most short story collections are editorially compiled miscellanies and do not constitute any coherent, aesthetic vision on the part of their authors. Such


collections are often familiarly denoted by the titular convention “[name of first story in the collection] and Other Stories.” For all of these reasons, scholars have traditionally disregarded the short story collection in discussions of modern literary genres, of which the novel is generally accepted as king. But not all short story collections are compiled by editors, and when looked at from a certain perspective, the short story collection belongs to a generic lineage stretching back much farther than the continuous, linear narrative characteristic of the novel, which came into popular usage only in the 18th century. As a group of individual stories, the short story collection exhibits structural affinities with the tale-telling traditions of oral cultures. Works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey show that ancient storytellers, or singers, composed stories based around characters, events, or settings and performed them for groups. The epic sagas of ancient Ireland belong to groups known as story cycles. For example, stories related to the life of king Conchabar of Ulster belong to the Ulster cycle, and stories about the exploits of the warrior Finn MacCumaill belong to the Fenian Cycle. Religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran (Qur’an), and the Bhagavad Gita exhibit a similar structure to the short story cycle in that they are whole texts comprised of individual, often unconnected episodes. An early British progenitor of the modern short story cycle was medieval cyclical drama. The York, Wakefield, Coventry, and Chester cycles make up the Corpus Christi plays. Each cycle dramatizes a different series of biblical events from Christ’s birth to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The cycles were performed on holidays, always in their entirety. More recent notable ancestors of the short story collection include lyric and epic cycles such as Chaucer’s Canturbury Tales (1387–1400), Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur (1470), sonnet sequences of the Renaissance, and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1859). In the 19th century, the short story collection developed alongside another composite form, the Victorian poem sequence, of which Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), George Merideth’s Modern Love (1862), and Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (1868–69) are examples.

In many cases, the periodical format itself encouraged authors to compose stories linked by character, setting, or theme. If one story achieved popularity, a magazine editor was likely to ask its author to submit another related story. This practice naturally led to the advent of the village sketch tradition, the nearest precursor to the modern short story collection. Britain’s MARY RUSSELL MITFORD’s Our Village (1824) represents an early village sketch collection. More prominent examples of the genre include ELIZABETH GASKELL’s CRANFORD (1853), GEORGE ELIOT’s Scenes of Clerical Life (1858), Jane Barlow’s Irish Idylls (1893), and GEORGE MOORE’s The Untilled Field (1903). Arnold Bennett notably carried on this tradition into the 20th century in The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (1905) and his subsequent Five Towns collections. Generally speaking, though, the village sketch achieved greater prominence in America, with writers such as Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. By the late 19th century, many authors began experimenting with different ways of composing and arranging their stories for volume publication without external pressure from the periodical marketplace. HENRY JAMES perhaps provides the best example. In Terminations (1895), Embarrassments (1895), and The Better Sort (1903), he experimented with a variety of unifying techniques that he brought together to integrate his most mature short story collection, The Finer Grain (1910). Many modernist authors followed James in constructing highly integrated short story collections of the highest aesthetic order. JAMES JOYCE’s DUBLINERS (1914) is the most important, but D. H. LAWRENCE’s The PRUSSIAN OFFICER AND OTHER STORIES (1914) and VIRGINIA WOOLF’s MONDAY OR TUESDAY (1921) are worthy of note. Britain’s most prodigious 20th-century short story writers often composed stories in groups and published collections exhibiting varying degrees of unity. Prominent early 20th-century British short story collections include H. E. BATES’s The Black Boxer: Stories (1932), A. E. COPPARD’s Silver Circus (1928), ALDOUS HUXLEY’s Mortal Coils: Five Stories (1922) and Brief Candles (1930), Liam O’Flaherty’s Spring Sewing (1924), and V. S. PRITCHETT’s When My Girl Comes Home (1961) and ON THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF (1980).


Authors of short story collections from around the world are indebted to the 19th-century Russian masters. Alexander Pushkin’s Tales of Belkin (1831), Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time (1840), and Ivan Turgenev’s Sportsman’s Sketches (1852) are among the most influential Russian examples of the genre. In comparison with the continuous narrative of the novel form, scholars emphasize the short story collection’s discontinuous, episodic nature and therefore its formal correspondence with modern life. James Nagel has argued that the genre is particularly well suited to expressing the disjuctive experiences of displaced ethnic minorities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Baldwin, Dean. “ ‘Short Stories Don’t Sell’: British Short Story Collections, 1919–1939,” Short Story 2, no. 1 (1991): 33–45. Ingram, Forrest L. Representative Short Story Cycles of the Twentieth Century: Studies in a Literary Genre. The Hague: Mouton, 1971. Nagel, James. The Contemporary American Short-Story Cycle: The Ethnic Resonance of Genre. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001. Aaron Zacks

COLLINS, WILLIAM WILKIE (1824– 1889) Collins was born in London, the eldest son of the popular landscape painter, William Collins, R.A. At age 22, he was admitted as a law student to Lincoln’s Inn; in 1851 he was called to the bar, though ultimately he never practiced law, deciding to pursue a literary career instead. In that same year, Collins met CHARLES DICKENS through a mutual friend, the artist Augustus Egg. Dickens invited Collins to perform in one of his amateur theatricals, a production of BulwerLytton’s play Not So Bad as We Seem, and for the next 16 years the two men were close personal friends, traveling companions, and valued colleagues. Collins frequently contributed to Dickens’s journals, Household Worlds and All the Year Round, and between 1856 and 1861 he and Dickens also collaborated on a number of projects, including the dramatic version of The Frozen Deep (1856), “Perils of Certain English Prisoners” (1857), and the short story “No Thoroughfare” (1867). Despite this mutually rewarding relationship, for years

Collins was seen aesthetically as a kind of lesser Dickens, a protégé, critics claimed, whose work never quite matched the scope and finesse of his older mentor. For someone who was master of the intricate plot, it is no surprise that Wilkie Collins himself lived a personal life that was more complicated than that of his fictional characters. Simultaneously maintaining two independent households, Collins lived with two women and chose to marry neither of them. In his later years, he circulated the polite fiction that one mistress, Caroline Graves, was his housekeeper, and when he visited his second mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children, he assumed the persona of William Dawson, Barrister. In addition to these sexual indiscretions, Collins was addicted to laudanum, regularly consuming doses reputedly strong enough to be fatal to those who were unaccustomed to the drug’s effects. While those close to Collins knew the truth about his unconventional life, they managed to demonstrate true Victorian reserve by refusing to discuss his peccadilloes publicly. For over a century, Wilkie Collins has been remembered primarily as the man who invented sensation fiction, and his literary reputation rested primarily on The Woman in White (1860), considered one of the best Victorian mystery novels, and The Moonstone (1872), generally acknowledged as the first English detective novel. However, during a literary career spanning four decades, Collins was quite prolific in a variety of genres: In addition to 25 novels, he wrote as many as 15 plays, over 50 short stories, and more than 100 articles. Always something of a radical in his personal and professional life, Collins was more openly critical of Victorian social conventions and gender norms than most of his contemporaries. Many critics have made a compelling case for a transgressive Collins, noting the anarchic and asocial impulses that underscore so much of his fiction. In fact, Dickens, who serialized Collins’s early work in his weekly journals, attempted to censor Collins’s writing because of his tendency to be “unnecessarily offensive to the middle class” (quoted in Stang, 200). “Mad Monkton” for instance, a story that takes hereditary insanity as its subject, was rejected for publication in 1853 in Household Words because Dickens


believed that it would offend the sensibilities of his readers. It was published a few years later in Fraser’s Magazine and then subsequently included in Collins’s second short story collection, The Queen of Hearts (1859). Throughout his fiction, Collins explores the boundaries and margins of his culture’s taboos, blurring the distinctions between dark and light, self and other, masculine and feminine, sanity and insanity, challenging and redefining the hierarchies and taxonomies that Victorian novelists so often reaffirm. Collins may very well be classified as the first modern Victorian, for much of his fiction centers on identity and alterity. Virtually every story Collins wrote contains doubles, doppelgangers, alter egos, and reflected selves. Moreover, his fictional world is one in which the inner mind is constantly manifesting itself in conscious and unconscious revelations; it is a world of dreams and somnambulism; it is a world marked by endless secrets—secret pasts, secret diaries and letters, secret selves; it is a world constantly under surveillance—spying, watching, eavesdropping. Though critics of his novel Armadale (1866) complained that Collins chose “vermin as his subjects” and reviewers of No Name (1862) found his sympathetic treatment of illegitimate, disinherited, and vengeful women “unwholesome,” “perverse,” and “polluting,” Collins continued to explore the psyches of his “freaks” as fictional case studies of what it was like to be marginalized or cast as a misfit in Victorian England. Collins repeatedly employs multiple narrators and multiple narrative techniques, and thus, as critics have noted, issues of inscription and textuality are also a key feature of his fiction. His texts, from the short story collection AFTER DARK (1856) through major works such as The Woman in White (1861), The Moonstone (1872), and The Law and the Lady (1875), are themselves textual montages—letters, affidavits, first-person accounts, diaries, wills, letters within diaries, letters within letters. His narrative technique is far more complicated, for instance, than the dual narrators Dickens employs in his great narrative experiment, Bleak House (1851), and was well in advance of the multivocal journal structure of BRAM STOKER’s Dracula (1897). While Collins’s greatest literary successes were achieved in his novels, the many short stories he wrote,

particularly those written early in his career, are significant contributions to the gothic tale of terror (“A TERRIBLY STRANGE BED”) and the emerging form of the detective story (“The STOLEN LETTER”). While the formal constraints of the genre do not always allow for the labyrinthine plots or complex experiments in character development for which Collins was especially famous, his early tales, replete with deceit and duplicity (“The Lady of Glenwith Grange”), mystery and murder (“The DIARY OF ANNE RODWAY”), suspense and the supernatural (“The OSTLER”), and terror and tyranny (“Sister Rose”), clearly foreshadow many of the prevailing themes of his full-length fiction. And though these tales of terror and mystery may have been overshadowed by the popular success of his novels, they are nevertheless just as richly rewarding in their capacity to entertain and enthrall. To paraphrase the hard-toplease young woman who listens to the tales recounted in The Queen of Hearts, Collins’s short stories seize hold of the reader’s interest and keep her reading breathlessly until the very end. Many of Collins’s short stories were first published in various periodicals and then later collected in After Dark (1856) and The Queen of Hearts (1859), both of which feature an innovative framing narrative that links and attempts to unify the disparate stories. Two later collections, Miss or Mrs? and Other Stories in Outline (1873) and Little Novels (1887), also feature stories that had been publisher earlier in various American and English periodicals. (See also “WHO KILLED ZEBEDEE?”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Clarke, William M. The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1988. Collins, Wilkie. Complete Short Fiction. London: Constable, 1998. ———. Mad Monkton and Other Stories. Oxford University Press, 1998. Nayder, Lillian. Wilkie Collins. New York: Twayne, 1997. Peters, Catherine. The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. London: Secker and Warburg, 1991. Pykett, Lynn. Wilkie Collins (New Casebooks). New York: St. Martin’s, 1998. Stang, Richard. The Theory of the Novel in England. New York: Columbia University Press, 1959.


Wilkie Collins Pages. Available online. URL: http://www. Accessed May 9, 2006.


Maria K. Bachman

posthumously published Dracula’s Guest is about the power of the past to haunt the present. BRAM STOKER also makes use of the plot device of the fatal return, a popular narrative in many 19th-century texts. Most of the action takes place in Pencastle, a small Edenic fishing port in Cornwall. The narrative is driven by the demands made by the heroine, Sarah Trefusis, and her greedy mother that, as a married woman, Sarah be provided with a comfortable lifestyle by one of her suitors, Eric Sansom or Abel Behenna. Abel, having staked his claim to Sarah by the lucky toss of a coin, dutifully sails off to China and the East Indies to satisfy her hunger for money. Sarah while remembering her relationship with Abel, but having “woman’s weaker nature,” consoles herself with Eric. For his own selfish motives, Eric persuades Sarah that Abel is dead. Having satisfied herself that she can access the money freshly deposited in Abel’s bank account, Sarah agrees to replace Abel with Eric. Two weeks before the wedding, there is a violent storm and a ship is wrecked in the harbor. Climbing aboard to help rescue the crew, Eric comes face to face with one of them, Abel, and refuses to save him. However, even when apparently out of the picture, Abel has the power to disrupt events, and he does so on Eric and Sarah’s wedding day, the day that was supposed to be Abel and Sarah’s wedding day. He comes back from the most frightening destination of all, death, to demand recognition of his rights—to Sarah, to his money, and to the domesticity he has been promised. The story ends when Abel’s corpse is discovered outside Eric’s cottage, his hand outstretched toward Sarah in a gesture of accusation. There are several ways of interpreting the story. Most obviously Abel’s return from the dead and his biting back, as it were, can be read as a bleak comment on the failure of romantic love in a world full of competing individual appetites and ambitions. The story can also be read as a narrative about exclusion. Removed from Sarah, separated from her and from Pencastle, Abel becomes a creature of margin as well as burden. Once out of sight he is also out of mind, and once Sarah has agreed to marry Eric, he can return only as a troubling ghost. Reading out from the story

“COMFORT, THE” JAMES KELMAN (1998) “Contrary to what might be expected I have no time at all for these macho-bastards, the kind that run about chasing nooky—especially when they’re 35 years old and married for nearly ten years.” Tommy, the cautiously upstanding narrator of JAMES KELMAN’s “The Comfort,” contrasts his own maturity with the behavior of his philandering friend. Chic only visits when he needs to avoid the wife he is cheating on; their alcoholfueled “male-bonding” is really just a way of evading the responsibilities of adult relationships. As a middleaged divorcé, Tommy himself has no place in family life, and because an unemployed single man is neither husband nor father nor provider, he has no social or economic function the authorities would recognize. The two characters appear trapped in a situation where all the avenues of traditional masculine authority are blocked. They leave Tommy’s flat for what seems safer ground: the male preserve of the working-class pub. But here they are immediately confronted with a potent emblem for a useless, dependent masculinity: a drunken man, skinny with white hair, dressed in “a pair of joggers and one of these vests that show off yer biceps but he was so fucking skinny the joggers needed braces.” The man’s bared biceps, conventional signifiers of strength and virility, become a mocking reminder of his fragility and dissipation, just as his advanced age is made ridiculous by his alcoholic degeneration to a childlike incomprehension. Tommy sees a reckless immaturity in the man, and his nagging warnings to Chic to “go careful in this place” cast him in the ideologically feminine role of passive, hand-wringing observer. In a largely unemployed working-class community that offers scant for opportunity for “manly” proactiveness, certainty and resolution, Kelman offers an uncomfortable picture of male fragility and mutual dependence.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kelman, James. The Good Times. New York: Anchor Books, 1999. Scott Hames

BRAM STOKER (1914) This story collected in the


into the wider context of 1890s imperialism with which Stoker’s readers would have been familiar, there are grounds for suggesting that this is also a cautionary story about imperial as well as domestic exploitation: Abel becomes part of the empire, spending his days in foreign lands and sending his hard-earned money back home. When he finally returns, an unexpected and unwelcome visitor glimpsed by terrified witnesses, he is represented in terms that emphasize his foreignness, or otherness: “a strange seaman whom no one knew,” a “porpoise,” a weird creature “like a pig with the entrails out” (117–18); he is no longer the handsome young man Sarah remembers but a less-than-human being who exists only to support the English home. Critics interested in issues of gender might also say that what makes this story especially interesting is the use it makes of the triangle configuration, so common to Victorian fiction, of one woman loved by two men; the woman marries the losing suitor after the first has disappeared. As a female character in a short story about male friendship written by a man, the function of Sarah seems fairly predictable: By captivating both men, this sadistic character allows Stoker once again to associate the figure of woman with death and destruction and moral emptiness. She is a life-denying rather than lifegiving force. “[H]er one intention . . . was so to arrange matters that [she] . . . should get all that was possible out of both men.” “ ‘Both these men want ye,’ ” her mother tells her, “ ‘and only one can have ye, but before ye choose it’ll be so arranged that ye’ll have all that both have got!’ ” (100). In this sense “The Coming of Abel Behenna” is a thoroughly misogynistic text in its analysis of male-female relations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Stoker, Bram. Dracula’s Guest and Other Weird Stories. London: George Routledge, 1914. Andrew Maunder

“COMPANY OF WOLVES, THE” ANGELA CARTER (1979) One of ANGELA CARTER’s most famous short stories, “The Company of Wolves” was first published in the innovative and imaginative 1979 collection of fairy-tale themed stories, The BLOODY CHAMBER. “The Company of Wolves” skillfully inter-

weaves peasant superstitions, such as old wives’ tales and folk remedies, with the Little Red Riding Hood theme, fully displaying Carter’s penchant for myth, folklore, and fairy tales. Carter believed that folklore and literature represented “vast repositories of outmoded lies, where you can check out what lies used to be a la mode and find the old lies on which new lies are based” (quoted in Easton, 22). She also argued that throughout history, the process of storytelling has helped perpetuate a constructed, as well as a constricting, reality for each successive generation, which is especially evident in gender role mythology and its psychological implications. Therefore, with “The Company of Wolves,” a provocative and sensual reimagining of “Little Red Riding Hood,” Carter has crafted a tale that serves the dual function of both illustrating how expected cultural traditions are indoctrinated in future generations and challenging those expectations, which she accomplishes by altering the classic fairy tale. “The Company of Wolves” begins by describing in poetic yet realistic prose the dangers of living in close proximity to the forest, especially in winter when the wolves are starving because “the wolf is carnivore incarnate and he’s as cunning as he is ferocious” (212). Intermingled with the atmosphere of fear created by the wolf and the descriptions of the “grave-eyed children” who “always carry knives” (213) to protect themselves from these creatures, is werewolf lore, tales of humans who have been transformed into wolves. These tales, woven within the larger framework of the story, include the account of a witch who transforms the guests at a wedding banquet into wolves when the man she wishes to marry weds another. A second tale recounts the story of a woman whose husband went outside to urinate, only to disappear. When he returns several years later to learn that his wife has married another man and borne that man’s children, he changes into a wolf once more. However, when this particular werewolf is chopped apart with a hatchet, his human form is visible beneath the wolf’s skin. With these tales, Carter deftly illustrates the inherent metaphorical connection between man and beast. In myth, folklore, and fairy tales, the wolf has traditionally been representative of man’s savage animal nature, and women have been considered merely their prey. However, that is


not the case in Carter’s fairy tale; in her rendering of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf meets his match. In “The Company of Wolves,” although a little girl in a red cape journeys through the forest to her grandmother’s house, she does not meet a wolf along the path but instead meets a handsome huntsman, who is really a wolf in the guise of a man. The two become acquainted as they walk through the forest and decide to have a race to see which one of them will arrive at Granny’s cottage first. If the huntsman, who carries a compass, wins the race, he will be rewarded with a kiss. The huntsman arrives at Granny’s house first and devours her, just like in the original fairy tale, but that is where the similarities end. Carter’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood” features an erotic conclusion quite different from the more famous versions of the tale written by France’s Charles Perrault and Germany’s Grimm brothers. In Perrault’s adaptation, Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are consumed by the wolf, never to be heard from again. In the Grimm brothers’ version, the two are eaten by the wolf, only to be rescued—cut out of the wolf’s belly—by a woodcutter. Instead, “The Company of Wolves” borrows its conclusion from the lesser-known oral version of the fairy tale, “The Story of the Grandmother,” in which the character of Little Red Riding Hood performs a striptease for the wolf instead of becoming the wolf’s victim. Reciting the memorable lines, including “what big teeth you have” (Carter, 219), Carter’s Little Red Riding Hood ceremoniously removes her clothes and throws them into the fire as the wolves howl outside the cottage. In the end, rather than being devoured by the wolf, this Little Red Riding Hood, who “knew she was nobody’s meat” (Carter, 219), climbs into bed with the wolf, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as to the outcome. Whether she joins the huntsman in his company of wolves is left undetermined, but at the very least, Carter’s Little Red Riding Hood has acknowledged the beast within herself, a vital component of self-knowledge and a powerful statement for feminism, as it is a substantial representation of gender equality. “The Company of Wolves” displays Carter’s unique style, irreverent wit, and unrelenting ambiguity, but the story also exhibits Carter’s astute observations

about the effects of social and political ideologies on human existence, and on women in particular. For Carter, writing represented a way to contest or demythologize these ideologies that most people take for granted as truth. As Carter herself once said, “my life has been most significantly shaped by my gender. . . . I spent a good many years being told what I ought to think, and how I ought to behave, and how I ought to write, even, because I was a woman and men thought they had the right to tell me how to feel, but then I stopped listening and tried to figure it out for myself” (quoted in Easton, 2). And so she has: Although “The Company of Wolves” has the appearance of a rather archaic fairy tale, by revealing that the wolf is an innate beast that exists in both men and women, implying that an egalitarian society is the ultimate utopia, the ambiguous story ironically proves to be enlightening.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bristow, Joseph, and Trev Lynn Broughton, eds. The Infernal Desires of Angela Carter: Fiction, Femininity, Feminism. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 1997. Carter, Angela. Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories. New York: Penguin, 1995. Easton, Alison, ed. Angela Carter: New Casebooks. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000. Gamble, Sarah. Angela Carter: Writing from the Front Line. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. Tucker, Lindsey, ed. Critical Essays on Angela Carter. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1998. Trudi Van Dyke

CONRAD, JOSEPH (1857–1924) Joseph Conrad grew up with multiple senses of himself as Polish, French, English, Catholic, revolutionary, gentleman, seaman, and author. This cosmopolitan writer suffered from a perpetual sense of exile after spending much of his life wandering the globe—an anxiety seen in the concern of his characters as to who is “one of us.” Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born on December 3, 1857, in Berdyczew, a Ukrainian province of Poland under tsarist rule. Conrad’s patriotic father, Apollo Korzeniowski, was arrested for involvement with a conspiratorial Polish group and was deported with his wife Ewa Bobrowska to the Russian town Vologda. Reading was a refuge for Conrad


throughout these years in exile: “I don’t know what would have become of me if I had not been a reading boy.” After the early death of his parents from tuberculosis, Conrad remained in Poland with his uncle Tadeusz Bobrowski until age 17, when he announced a wish to become a sailor, formed in part from the seafaring romances of Frederick Marryat. In 1874 Conrad traveled to Marseille, where he sailed to the West Indies aboard French merchant ships and later worked as a carrier of illegal arms for Spanish Carlists. This phase of his life ended abruptly with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest—what is thought to have been a suicide attempt, though Conrad explained the incident as the outcome of a duel. Conrad knew no English until age 21. After arriving in Lowestoft, England, in 1878, he slowly acquired the language, passed the marine examinations, and became a British citizen in 1886. He wrote literature in English from then on: “You may take it from me that if I had not known English I wouldn’t have written a line for print, in my life.” He received encouragement from literary acquaintances Edward Garnett, Stephen Crane, H. G. WELLS, R. B. Cunninghame Graham, JOHN GALSWORTHY, and Ford Madox Ford, with whom he collaborated on two novels. During his 16 years with the British Merchant Service, he traveled the world’s oceans to Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Africa. HENRY JAMES remarked of these travel experiences, “No one has known—for intellectual use—the things you know.” A traumatic expedition as a steamboat captain for a trading company in the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1890 seriously undermined his health and spirits. He went to sea just once more between 1890 and 1896, as chief mate of the Torrens carrying passengers to Australia, before returning to the manuscript he had been working on for the past five years. In 1896 he married Jessie George, with whom he had two sons, born in 1898 and 1906. Conrad’s literary career consists of three periods: the early phase of sea stories and Eastern settings (1895– 1903), the middle phase of political themes and Western settings (1904–11), and the late phase of miscellaneous and retrospective writings (1912–24). His first novel, Almayer’s Folly: A Story of an Eastern

River, begun in 1888 and published in 1895, and An Outcast of the Islands (1896), vividly re-create Malaysian settings in which isolated Dutch traders suffer from ambition and failure, depicted through complex shifts in time and perspective. Reviewers compared these novels favorably to those of ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON and RUDYARD KIPLING. Conrad’s voyages aboard the Vidar throughout the Malay Archipelago also provided material for Lord Jim (1900), Victory (1915), The Rescue (1920), and numerous stories. A trip from Bombay to Britain in 1884 inspired The Nigger of the “Narcissus”: A Tale of the Sea (1897), a novella rich in symbolism describing the black American sailor James Wait’s morbid influence over a ship’s crew. The novel’s celebrated preface, published separately as The Art of Fiction in 1902, is a statement of Conrad’s artistic intent to discover an essential reality behind appearances: “My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see.” Conrad’s short fiction, which makes up 31 of 43 fictional works, is central to his literary reputation. The collection TALES OF UNREST (1898) consists of five stories serialized in magazines between 1896 and 1897. The African and Malaysian tales are the collection’s best. “An Outpost of Progress” takes place in a remote trading post in central Africa, where two European traders unintentionally participate in the slave trade. The white narrator of the first Malay story, “The LAGOON,” reveals Arsat’s guilty secret of family betrayal, and a former captain (who anticipates Conrad’s narrator Marlow) narrates the second story, “KARAIN: A MEMORY,” in which the respected chief Karain receives a coin from Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee as a charm to ward off the spirit of a murdered friend. The collection shares with the early novels its unifying themes of destructive obsessions and ethical lapses following failed romantic idealism within a colonial environment. Conrad conveys the psychological complexity of experience through an ornate descriptive style commonly referred to as literary impressionism. Youth: A Narrative, and Two Other Stories (1902) portrays seamen in youth, maturity, and old age. Based on Conrad’s experience aboard the Palestine from 1881 to 1883, “YOUTH: A NARRATIVE” is Marlow’s nostalgic


account of his first voyage at age 20 to the East, now seen with the ironic distance of an experienced seaman. The last story, “The End of the Tether,” describes the moral decline of an aging steamboat captain who conceals his blindness from the ship’s crew. It is the second story, HEART OF DARKNESS, written in February 1899, that is Conrad’s most famous novella, upon which much of his reputation rests today. A fictional version of Conrad’s experiences in Africa in 1890, the story is Marlow’s vividly impressionistic account of a journey deep into Africa in pursuit of Kurtz, the legendary manager of the inner station whose moral ideas become a source of fascination to Marlow. Kurtz is the driving mystery of the narrative and has intrigued readers since the story appeared with his controversial behavior and enigmatic dying words. The story’s ambivalent stance toward imperialism—Conrad has been both praised for criticizing European imperialism and accused of racism—has led to lively critical debates in recent decades. The novella Typhoon, published in the Pall Mall Magazine in 1901 and in book form with “AMY FOSTER” in 1903, describes Captain McWhirr’s efforts to guide the steamship Nan-Shan through a severe storm. “Falk: A Reminiscence” portrays a taciturn Scandinavian tugboat owner who confesses to cannibalism. An adaptation of the third story, “To-Morrow,” was to become Conrad’s first play, One Day More (1905). The later novels shift from Eastern maritime settings to Western political settings, as in Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard (1904), which describes a South American revolution, and The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907), which describes a failed terrorist attack on the Greenwich Observatory. A Set of Six (1908) includes political stories set in disparate parts of the world, though their contrived plots are less admired than those of the early stories. “The SECRET SHARER: An Episode from the Coast” appeared in Harper’s in 1910 before being republished with two other stories. One of Conrad’s best, this story describes the meeting between an inexperienced young captain anchored in the Gulf of Siam and his alter ego Leggatt, an escaped prisoner from a nearby ship who persuades the captain to help him escape. These were difficult years for Conrad, troubled as he was by depression and gout, his wife’s knee injury, and

financial strains. Conrad suffered a nervous breakdown in 1910 after completing Under Western Eyes (1911) and moved to Capel House in Ashford, Kent. The collection ’Twixt Land and Sea: Tales (1912) returned to sea stories about challenges faced by inexperienced captains. The storyteller Marlow returns in Chance: A Tale in Two Parts (1913), which became a best-seller in America. Similar themes of love and violence recur throughout the story collection Within the Tides: Tales (1915). While the last decade of his life brought professional success to a writer who had struggled financially throughout his career, the late fiction suffers from sentimentality, tendentiousness, and overplotting. The outbreak of war in 1914 forced the Conrads to cut short a visit to Poland and agonized a man with allegiances to multiple European countries. He afterward wrote The Shadow-Line: A Confession (1917), four more novels, and several stories published posthumously in 1925 as Tales of Hearsay. Conrad died of a heart attack on August 3, 1924, at age 66.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conrad, Joseph. Complete Short Stories of Joseph Conrad. Edited by Samuel Hynes. New York: Ecco, 1992. ———. The Mirror of the Sea: Memories and Impressions. London: Methuen, 1906. New York: Harper, 1990. ———. A Personal Record. New York: Harper, 1912. Guerard, Albert J. Conrad the Novelist. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958. Knowles, Owen, and Gene M. Moore, eds. The Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Leavis, F. R. The Great Tradition: George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad. London: Chatto and Windus, 1948. Meyers, Jeffrey. Joseph Conrad: A Biography. New York: Scribner, 1991. Stape, J. H., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Matthew Rubery

CONSTITUTIONAL HELEN SIMPSON (2005) In the title story of HELEN SIMPSON’s fourth collection, a science teacher takes her regular lunchtime stroll around Hampstead Heath. This is her “constitutional,” a reassuringly old-fashioned concept, far removed from


power-walking, jogging, or similar goal-oriented forms of exercise: “The thing about a circular walk is that you end up where you started, except, of course, that you don’t” (106). But the title also evokes corporeality. It encapsulates Simpson’s concerns in the collection as a whole: mortality, the passing of time and the persistence of cycles and routines, both natural and manmade. While the settings are superficially domestic and mundane and the tone is lightly ironical, the effect is often unsettling and the humor darkly disturbing. In “Constitutional,” as the lunch hour ticks away, the first-person narrator considers the perversities of her own biological clock. On the cusp of middle age, at the very moment when her faculties may be in decline, she has become pregnant for the first time. Like the rest of the stories in the collection, “Constitutional” juxtaposes images of physical decay with humdrum reality. The black humor is at its most pronounced in “Every Third Thought,” which chronicles a virtual epidemic of death and disease in deepest suburbia: “ ‘They said his tumour’s the size of an orange,’ she said, blowing her nose. ‘I’d just bought a net of oranges for juicing and they went straight in the bin. I do wish doctors would keep away from food when they’re making their comparison’ ” (23). In “Early One Morning,” the school run maps out another circumscribed route, like the trek around the heath in “Constitutional.” Taking the children to school and back again, stuck in the congestion, Simpson’s protagonist seems to be moving in ever-decreasing circles. In Simpson’s previous collection, Hey Yeah Right Get a Life, Simpson’s typical heroine was an educated, youngish woman struggling to reconcile her sense of autonomy with the demands of motherhood. Now, on the wrong side of 40, she is even more conscious that time is slipping away beyond her control. Simpson is especially good at capturing children’s voices, suggesting in “Early One Morning,” as so often in her work, an ultimate complicity between mother and child. In “The Year’s Midnight,” Marion soothes a child who is having a tantrum at the baths, going through the well-practiced rituals of maternal optimism: “the more she, Marion, insisted that they would have a happy Christmas, the more likely it became that they all really would” (19). “The Year’s Midnight” is set

in a swimming pool at the winter solstice, “and so she was also aware of swimming in the dark sea of Time with the old year wheeling wearily across the sky above her, the sun very low and weak, and somewhere beneath the horizon the unmarked infant new year waiting its turn” (11). Seasonal change, especially the coming of winter, interacts with the biological and social life cycles of Simpson’s characters. Often, the characters are stuck in obsessive or repetitious behavior. In “The Phlebotomist’s Love Life” (a title that returns to circulation, this time of the blood, a recurring image in the collection), the outraged protagonist asks everyone she meets for his or her opinion on the Gulf War. “The Tree,” the only story narrated by a man, charts the disasters set in motion by his senile mother’s fixation on the dead tree in her garden. He is a surveyor, someone who “worries for a living” (55), looking out for the telltale signs of damage. As in houses, so in humans, decrepitude awaits. This is not exactly a consoling message, but it is redeemed by the wit and energy of Simpson’s fast-paced prose.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Simpson, Helen. Constitutional. London: Jonathan Cape, 2005. ———. Hey yeah Right Get a Life. London: Vintage, 2001. Ailsa Cox

COPPARD, A. E. (1878–1957) Born of working-class parents in Folkstone, Kent, Alfred Edgar Coppard left school at age nine, becoming variously an errand boy, a professional athlete, and a clerk. Sensitive about his lack of formal education, Coppard read voraciously before starting to publish poetry and short stories. The hardships of his early life are described in his autobiography, It’s Me, O Lord! (1957), but they also feature in his fiction. The story “My Hundredth Tale” tells of a Coppard-like writer living in isolation in a primitive hut who has affairs with three women; he rejects the first two but is rejected by the third, for whom he is too uncouth. Literary recognition arrived at age 43 with the publication of the collection Adam and Eve and Pinch Me in 1921. Coppard quickly followed this with Clorinda Walks in Heaven (1922) and The Black Dog and Other Stories (1923).


Although Coppard believed that a short story was harder to write than a full-length novel, he quickly established himself as an innovative exponent of the form with a distinctive style. H. E. BATES wrote, “Mr. Coppard has long cherished the theory that short story and film are expressions of the same art, the art of telling a story by a series of subtly implied gestures, swift shots, moments of suggestion, an art in which elaboration and above all explanation are superfluous and tedious.” Coppard makes considerable use of repeated motifs and symbols that are often taken from the natural world. Although he was acclaimed for his supernatural or “weird” fiction, he was most famous for his short stories set in rural England, in particular Oxfordshire and Berkshire. His moving accounts of countryfolk and misfits struggling to eke out a basic existence present the countryside not as an idyllic retreat but rather as a place where natural beauty exists alongside violence, cruelty, and betrayal. The climax of “The Silver Circus” comes when a pair of elderly laboring women realize that they been deceived by the same man and their mutually supportive friendship is irrevocably damaged. Coppard’s much anthologized story “The Higgler,” which first appeared in the collection Fishmonger’s Fiddle in 1925, is a tragic tale of an itinerant salesman in poultry and eggs who is offended when a farmer’s widow seems to want to sell him her quiet daughter along with her farm. Later, trapped in an unhappy marriage with a dour, humorless woman, he suddenly realizes that the daughter was in love with him but was too shy to let him know. The damage has, however, been done. Coppard was a presence throughout the 1920s and 1930s but refused to ally himself with any particular school or movement. In his fiction he developed a deceptively simple form of short story populated by characters that were in marked contrast to those favored by MODERNIST writers, and he thus helped establish another route for the genre’s development in British literature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bates, H. E. The Modern Short Story: A Critical Survey. London: T. Nelson, 1941. Coppard, A. E. Adam and Eve and Pinch Me: Tales. Berkshire, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1921.

———. Clorinda Walks in Heaven. Berkshire, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1922. ———. Fishmonger’s Fiddle: Tales. London: Cape, 1925. ———. The Man in the Caravan. London: Phoenix, 2003. Gindin, James. “A. E. Coppard and H. E. Bates.” In The English Short Story, 1880–1945: A Critical History, edited by Joseph M. Flora, 113–141. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Andrew Maunder

CORELLI, MARIE (1855–1924) Marie Corelli is the pseudonym of Mary Mills (later Mackay), born in Bayswater, London, as the illegitimate child of Scottish poet Charles Mackay and his servant, Mary Mills, who later became his second wife in 1859; she was sister to one half-brother, Eric Mackay. Called “Minnie” as a child, Corelli lived at Fern Dell at Box Hill, Surrey, with George Meredith as a neighbor. Precocious in intelligence and musical learning (she played the harp, mandolin, and piano), she was educated privately by governesses except during a brief period when she attended a convent school. Obsessively protective of her carefully cultivated and self-dramatizing persona, she adopted various names, beginning with “Signoria di Corelli” when she embarked on an early career as an improvisator on the piano and ending with “Marie Corelli” when she became an author; her musical efforts were short-lived because in 1886, at age 30, she published her first novel, The Romance of Two Worlds, with Richard Bentley. In 1876 her mother died; as a result, her childhood friend and ultimately lifelong companion, Bertha Vyver, joined the household and moved with the family to London in 1883. Most likely the best-selling author of all Victorian novelists after the publication of Sorrows of Satan (1895), Corelli was also prolific. She wrote 25 novels ranging from lurid romances to outlandish science fiction, several articles and opinion pieces, and more than 30 short stories, which were collected in Cameos (1896), The Song of Miriam and Other Stories (1898), Delicia, and Other Stories (1907), and The Love of Long Ago and Other Stories (1920). Exemplified in her short fiction are many of the themes and concerns of Corelli’s longer works, such as mysticism (“The Distant Voice”), science (“Lead Kindly Light”), and women’s roles (“The Stepping Star”); these are compounded by her lurid tales of exotic locales and occult proceedings,


which often also include commentaries or thinly disguised essays on imperialism, journalistic corruption, and child poverty (“Tiny Tramps”). Despite her interest in strong career women, Corelli distanced herself from the NEW WOMAN writers of her day and was against the suffragette movement (see SUFFRAGETTE FICTION). Unlike most Victorian writers, Corelli did not first publish her stories in periodicals, but they were often published in more than one collection or were initially distributed to the public as novellas. A phenomenon of publishing and popular culture, Marie Corelli died at Stratford on Avon, where she lived from 1901 to her death.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Corelli, Marie. Cameos. London: Hutchinson, 1896. ———. Delicia and Other Stories. London: Constable, 1907. ———. The Love of Long Ago and Other Stories. London: Methuen, 1920. ———. The Song of Miriam and Other Stories. London: Hutchinson, 1897. Federico, Annette. Idol of Suburbia. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000. Sarah Maier


First issued in 1886, Cosmopolitan was part of the late-Victorian “magazine revolution” of the 1890s (see MAGAZINES). This revolution saw the emergence of a number of cheap advertising-based (as opposed to subscription-based) magazines catering to a middle-class readership. Through the 1880s and 1890s, led by owner John Brisben Walker (1889–1905), Cosmopolitan was a generalinterest illustrated magazine, though it contained notable fiction. H. G. WELLS’s novella War of the Worlds was serialized in 1887, and other important contributors of this period included RUDYARD KIPLING, ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, Mark Twain, W. W. Jacobs, THOMAS HARDY, Jack London, and HENRY JAMES. Under William Randolph Hearst’s ownership (1905–51), Cosmopolitan entered a period of muckraking before becoming a fiction-dominated periodical in 1912, a trend that lasted until the 1940s. By 1925, the magazine carried, on average, four serials and 12 short stories alongside a few feature articles. This formula was popular, bringing the magazine’s circulation to nearly 1 million between 1915 and 1925. Cosmopolitan paid well for its fiction, up to $5000 for a short story

and $40,000 for a serial in the 1930s. As such, it attracted prominent popular fiction writers during this period, including William SOMERSET MAUGHAM, P. G. WODEHOUSE, Rafael Sabatini, Ring Lardner, and Louis Bromfield. After the war, as fiction declined in popularity, Cosmopolitan changed its format and focused its market on the middle-class housewife. In the 1960s, under Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan underwent a radical change, becoming a magazine devoted to “sex and the single girl,” a focus it retains today. In terms of its role in the history of the short story, Cosmopolitan is significant as an indicator of the most popular writers and short story genres of the 1890s through the 1940s. Kristen MacLeod

“COURTING OF DINAH SHADD, THE” RUDYARD KIPLING (1890) One of RUDYARD KIPLING’s many stories of life among noncommissioned soldiers in India, “The Courting of Dinah Shadd” was first published in Harper’s Weekly in the United States in 1890. It also gave its name to the volume of short stories published by Harper Brothers in September 1890, an edition that Kipling considered pirated. In 1891 Kipling published the story in a collection in the United States titled Mine Own People, with an introduction by HENRY JAMES. It was published in Britain in Life’s Handicap: Being Stories of Mine Own People, also in 1891. Kipling wrote it in early 1890, after he had left India; it is a story that echoes earlier work but also points toward the sophisticated narratives and dark visions of his later writing. The story is placed second in the standard Macmillan edition of Life’s Handicap, between two other stories of a trio of soldiers who recur in several Kipling texts; Mulvaney, the Irishman; Ortheris, the London cockney; and Learoyd, the Yorkshireman. “The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney” recounts a drunken adventure involving a sedan chair, an Indian temple, and “the wives and daughters of most of the kings of India.” “On Greenhow Hill” interweaves Learoyd’s account of the death of a girl he has loved with Ortheris’s preparations to shoot a deserter. “The Courting of Dinah Shadd” echoes these stories in its narrative complexity and pessimism. The epigraph to the story is a poem that asserts— ironically, as it turns out—that all women “Are sisters


under their skins” in their desire to get the man they want. The text deals with sexual rivalry (among men also), but it approaches its topic indirectly. Mulvaney’s story of courting Miss Shadd is doubly framed in an account of army maneuvers in India and of an encounter with Mulvaney, Ortheris, and Learoyd. The unnamed narrator listens to Mulvaney talk as the soldiers involved in the maneuvers entertain themselves in camp. Mulvaney starts with a reminiscence of watching Hamlet in Dublin and then asks the narrator “Did you iver have onendin’ devilmint an’ nothin’ to pay for it in your life, sorr?” He proceeds to tell of his falling in love with Dinah Shadd and his fighting another soldier to win her. He reveals that within half an hour of Dinah’s agreeing to his courtship, he had flirted with another woman, the disreputable Judy Sheehy, and gave her to understand that he wanted to marry her. The next day, he and Dinah were confronted by Judy and her drunken mother. Mulvaney refused to marry Judy, whereupon Mrs. Sheehy laid a terrible curse on him. Dinah, after first rejecting him, stuck by Mulvaney and shared the curse. Mulvaney reveals that the curse—of professional failure, moral disappointment, and childlessness—has come true, but he and Dinah have remained married. Mulvaney’s narration is given in the phonological transcription of dialect that Kipling uses in many stories (and that George Orwell and SALMAN RUSHDIE have found annoying). However, this technique is an attempt to let Mulvaney’s lower-class and provincial voice be heard clearly. This and the complex narrative give a freshness to Mulvaney’s sordid tale. Kipling also gives the Mulvaneys’ disappointed lives some dignity. His language and that of Mrs. Sheehy is often rhetorically powerful, his and Dinah’s sufferings are poignant, and the double framing allows Kipling to place Mulvaney’s failure in the context of general transience (“Today, of all those jovial thieves . . . not one remains”) and of heroic figures like Hamlet and Prometheus. The story fits in with the other dark and disturbing tales that make up Life’s Handicap.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kipling, Rudyard. Collected Stories. London: Everyman, 1994. David Malcolm

“COURTSHIP OF MR. LYON, THE” ANCARTER (1979) Originally published in British Vogue, “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” is one of the nine pieces contained in The BLOODY CHAMBER and Other Stories (1979), Angela CARTER’s feminist rewriting of traditional fairy tales. In particular, “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” is based on Madame Leprince de Beaumont’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which Carter had already translated and edited for her volume Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales in 1982. Some critics have therefore seen The Bloody Chamber as Carter’s commentary on her own previous work, and Carter herself has emphasized the metanarrative aspect of this collection by describing it as “a book of stories about fairy stories.” “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” is one of two rewritings by Carter of “Beauty and the Beast” and, at a first glance, is the most faithful to the original: Beauty’s father is a ruined gentleman who takes temporary shelter in a grand, and apparently empty, mansion, from whose garden he plucks a white rose to take to his daughter as a present. This gesture provokes the sudden appearance and indignation of the owner of the house, the Beast, who can be pacified only by the promise that the thieving trespasser will come back accompanied by his beautiful daughter. Later, in exchange for Beauty’s company, the Beast offers to help restore her father’s fortune; when Beauty finally makes her way back to her father, she forgets her promise to visit the Beast, who begins to languish. Beauty’s providential return and proffer of love not only rescue the Beast from his deathbed but reinstate his human form and trigger the conventional happy ending in the couple’s marriage. In contrast, Carter’s other version of the story, “The Tiger’s Bride,” which immediately follows “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” in The Bloody Chamber, ends with Beauty’s metamorphosis into a tiger rather than the Beast’s transformation into a prince. The most superficial difference between “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon” and the original fairy tale is that Carter’s version is set in the modern world, albeit one that is scantily sketched, rather than in the indeterminate past of the “once upon a time.” The Beast is Mr. Lyon, a country gentleman rather than a spellbound prince, and once they have regained their fortune, Beauty and GELA


her Father start enjoying the glamour of city life in London. Even more defamiliarizing, within a fairy tale context, is the way Beauty’s father first enters Mr. Lyon’s mansion because of mechanical problems with his car. Similarly, the feeling of suspension of reality that pervades Mr. Lyon’s mansion cannot be ascribed to the magic quality of the fairy-tale setting. Instead, Beauty’s father puts it down to the eccentricity typical of the very rich, for whom the rules of everyday reality do not seem to apply. The materiality of these details emphasizes the patriarchal, capitalist economy of exchange within which Beauty is effectively imprisoned. This strategy reflects Carter’s rejection of Bruno Bettelheim’s reading of the traditional “Beauty and the Beast” as the story of a girl’s necessary maturation from daughter to bride. Rather, Carter points out how Beauty’s fate is that of a commodity passed on from one master to the next within the patriarchal order. Women’s servility and subjugation to men is further emphasized by the presence of the white (like Beauty) bejeweled spaniel, the only other female creature in the story, whose status seems to hover between that of lady of the house, governess, and prized possession. More overtly, not only does Mr. Lyon demand that Beauty be brought to dinner as compensation for the theft of the white rose (again, Beauty’s own white complexion seems like a fair exchange for the stolen flower), but Beauty herself perceives the extension of her stay with the Beast as the rightful price for the reversal of her father’s fortune. Beauty appears to be incapable of escaping this perverse logic when, at the end of the story, she is once again victim of an emotional blackmail, this time perpetrated by Mr. Lyon rather than her father. Several critics, however, have pointed out how, even as Carter drops hints about the oppressiveness of patriarchal ideology, Beauty in fact undergoes as positive a metamorphosis as Mr. Lyon does, through the blossoming of their mutual love. Beauty’s selfless commitment to the Beast represents the assumption of responsibility in place of the frivolity and shallowness of life as a spoiled socialite—in which guise she first appears, delighted by the prospect of a shopping expedition to buy, significantly, furs with her father’s money. According to this reading, Beauty renounces the pleasures of the glittering metropolis for the much

less glamorous life in the country and the genuine love of what Margaret Atwood describes as a “somewhat tatty dying animal.” Even so, the ending of the story is anticlimactic and ironic: Domesticity is finally represented as tranquillity verging on stasis, even decay, as the closing image of the fallen petals seems to suggest.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Atwood, Margaret. “Running with the Tigers.” In Flesh and the Mirror: Essays on the Art of Angela Carter, edited by Lorna Sage, London: Virago, 117–135. 1994. Carter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber. 1979. London: Vintage, 1995. Stephania Ciocia

COUSIN PHYLLIS ELIZABETH GASKELL (1864) Cousin Phyllis is one of ELIZABETH GASKELL’s later works and one in which she returns to the rural Cheshire of her youth. Cousin Phyllis was first published by George Smith in his Cornhill Magazine (see MAGAZINES) in four monthly parts from November 1863 to February 1864. Part two included an illustration by George du Maurier that has since become iconic. The entire novella is narrated by Paul Manning, who, as a mature man, is recollecting his days at Hope Farm and his acquaintance with Phyllis and Holdsworth. He describes a rural idyll in which the heroine, Phyllis Holman, discovers romantic love for the first time in her life. As an only child growing up in an isolated farming community she has been overprotected by her devoted parents, who fail to observe her developing sexuality. Railway construction in Cheshire brings two young railway workers into regular contact with Phyllis, her parents, and Hope Farm, where they live and work. Phyllis’s father, Mr. Holman, is a Nonconformist minister (i.e., not a member of the Church of England or Roman Catholic Church), as well as a farmer. The young men are Mr. Holdsworth, an engineer, and Paul Manning, who is both Holdsworth’s assistant and Phyllis’s cousin. Although the railway itself does not affect the farm, the presence of the young men, especially Holdsworth, disturbs the Edenic quality of this rural environment. Phyllis, who is 17 when the story begins, experiences an emotional and sexual awakening that she tries to conceal from her parents. This tale does not have a happy ending. Holdsworth, the young man who has captured Phyllis’s heart, takes


a position at very short notice in Canada. Because of the suddenness of his departure he is unable to declare his feelings to Phyllis, but he confides in Paul. Seeing Phyllis so sad after Holdsworth’s departure, Paul tells his cousin that Holdsworth loves her and hopes to marry her on his return. As time passes, however, Holdsworth’s letters to Paul include references to a new friend: a French-Canadian girl named Lucille Ventadour. Before returning to England Holdsworth sends news that he has married Lucille. Learning of Holdsworth’s marriage so disturbs Phyllis that she becomes critically ill with brain fever. Her admission to her parents that she loved Holdsworth compels Mr. and Mrs. Holman to acknowledge their daughter’s progress from childhood to young adulthood. Phyllis recovers from her physical illness, but the story ends on a note of uncertainty regarding her future life. Alternative endings were considered by the author but discarded. The novella is regarded by many scholars as Gaskell’s finest work and the culmination of her shorter fiction. It charts Phyllis’s emotional journey, the exchange of innocence for experience, which proves to be painful for her and for those who truly care about her. The story is often praised for its accuracy of description, but details here do more than describe appearances: They signify a character’s inner life. Major signifiers are Phyllis’s pinafore, which she is wearing in Gerald du Maurier’s illustration and which denotes her early innocence, and her recurring blushes, which indicate her subsequent emotional turmoil. This emphasis on human feeling, together with a fusion of religion and nature, is one of the reasons that Cousin Phyllis has attracted much critical attention.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Gaskell. Cranford and Cousin Phyllis. London: Penguin, 1979. Irene Wiltshire

CRANFORD ELIZABETH GASKELL (1851–1853) An episodic novel of linked stories set in Cranford, a fictitious country town in northern England. First serialized in Household Words, a weekly magazine edited by CHARLES DICKENS, between December 1851 and May 1853, Cranford appeared in volume form in

June 1853. An additional episode, “The Cage at Cranford,” was published in Dickens’s All the Year Round in November 1863. Cranford is based on ELIZABETH GASKELL’s childhood memories of the small town of Knutsford, Cheshire. As a fond record of an old-fashioned backwater, the story has primarily been praised for its charm, domestic detail, and vivid creation of a rural society dominated by a close-knit group of impoverished gentlewomen. Recent interest in the material conditions of domestic life in Victorian Britain has revealed that industrialization, imperialism, and the new consumer society are central to the story’s treatment of class and gender issues. Cranford has thus been read as an insightful point of entry into discussions of the 19th-century transport system and commercialism and of developments in the patterns of production, distribution, and consumption (Hall). This new interest in the story’s socioeconomic background, however, has also accentuated the intriguing ambiguity of its representation of gender relations. In its exploration of sexual politics, it has been alternately interpreted as a satire on embittered spinsters and as a fond detailing of middle-class feminine gentility. The opening sentence propels the reader into the center of this ambiguity: “In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women.” In Ancient Greek mythology, the Amazons are warrior women who live without men, and while the genteel ladies of Cranford form a community of women in which men of their class are practically nonexistent and not necessarily welcome unless they are first successfully domesticated, or feminized, the comparison of these women to a race of warrior women is replete with fond ridicule. As Nina Auerbach pointedly puts it, at first sight “the appellation ‘Amazons’ seems simply to chuck these sweet ladies under the chin; but the Amazons bob up repeatedly in Victorian writing, usually to be banished as soon as evoked.” More recently, Eileen Gillooly has likewise endeavoured to account for the aggressive humour of this charming tale by showing how “in possession of the Amazons” can be read differently: While Cranford seems to be a town that belongs almost exclusively to women, Cranford also possesses the Amazons by locking them away from the world.


The narrative situation is significant for the story’s many paradoxes. The first-person narrator, Mary Smith, is a much younger woman than the majority of Cranford ladies and is a visitor. She is intimately familiar with the ways and means of Cranford, but nonetheless she is an outsider or, at best, a partial participant. She can even be seen as an anthropologist who observes the cultural context of her anecdotes with an outsider’s bemused, or amused, fascination (Schor). Residing with her widowed father in “the great neighbouring commercial town of Drumble,” with which preindustrial Cranford is repeatedly contrasted, Mary undertakes extended visits to some of the central characters, notably to Deborah and Matty Jenkyns and Miss Pole. With a mildly aloof sense of detachment she recounts that every inhabitant of Cranford has “her own individuality, not to say eccentricity, pretty strongly developed.” Mary’s own personality, however, is treated with a similar irony. Her somewhat stiff conservatism, especially in terms of dress, provides a comical contrast to Matty Jenkyns’s endearing youthfulness, if not childishness. This comes to the fore in the episode “Signor Brunoni,” as Miss Matty expects Mary to import a fashionable seagreen turban into old-fashioned Cranford. Her desire exemplifies the strangely comical representation of attempts to domesticate the exotic, the alluringly but threateningly foreign male seemingly embodied by Brunoni, alias Samuel Brown. Instead, Mary purchases “a pretty, neat, middle-aged cap”—“anxious to prevent [Miss Matty] from disfiguring her small gentle mousey face with a great Saracen’s-head turban.” The later chapter “The Cage at Cranford” takes this even further as Mary proves as ignorant of new Paris fashions as the Cranford ladies. The promised French “cage”—a skirtshaped construction worn under the dress when extensive skirts became fashionable—is misinterpreted as a new habitation for Miss Pole’s Polly-Cockatoo. Such double irony pervades the stories. Not initially intended as a novel, Cranford contains episodic anecdotes, and their most prevalent characteristic is indisputably their humor. Among the most memorable episodes is an Alderney cow dressed in flannel after its fall into a lime pit, which causes it to lose all its hair: “Do you ever see cows dressed in grey flannel in London?” Considering that the cow’s owner

is an old lady who “looked upon [the cow] as a daughter,” Captain Brown’s initial jokes about the necessary flannel waistcoat and drawers harbor the aggressive humor that ruptures the seemingly smooth idyll. One of the few men temporarily admitted into Cranford society, Captain Brown, like Brunoni, embodies a disruptive male element. Given the captain’s literary debates about Dickens’s Pickwick Papers—significantly the fictional chronicles of an all-male club—as opposed to the old-fashioned pomposity exemplified by Deborah Jenkyns’s reading of the 18th-century essayist Samuel Johnson, his death becomes doubly symbolic: He is run over by a train shortly after reading the Pickwick Papers but also while saving a child, thereby atoning for his identification with industrialization and progress. Likewise, Peter Jenkyns’s transvestism at once is extremely funny and has a sinister side to it as he impersonates his masculine sister Deborah in a pose of feminine weakness: nursing a mysterious infant with maternal effusion. In contrast to this carnivalesque moment, Peter’s later return from India to save his sister Matty from comparative poverty incongruously reasserts male dominance. Impoverished after the failure of a JointStock Bank in which the Miss Jenkyns are shareholders, Matty has discreetly been selling tea, vacillating on the borderlines of gentility, of the “elegant economy” in which trade figures as vulgar: “ ‘Elegant economy!’ How naturally one falls back into the phraseology of Cranford! There, economy was always ‘elegant,’ and money-spending always ‘vulgar and ostentatious.’ ” Peter’s fortuitous return replenishes domestic gentility, yet this use of the colonies as an offstage source of fortune is more intriguingly counterpoised by Mrs. Brown’s narrative of having carried her last surviving child “from station to station, from Indian village to village.” This multilayered use of India, Indian muslin, the East India Company, and fashionable turbans has led Raphael Samuel to single out Cranford, in his analysis of the interplay of the imperial and the domestic, as a central counterexample to Edward Said’s seminal discussion of appropriating European orientalism. Like its intriguing insights into the domestic effects of industrialization and the new consumer society, its self-conscious and self-ironic portrayals of Orientalism and


Orientalia prove that Cranford is much more than the comical idyll that has alternately been praised and condemned for its sentimental charm.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Auerbach, Nina. Communities of Women: An Idea in Fiction. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1978. Gaskell, Elizabeth. Cranford. Edited by Elizabeth Porges Watson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Gillooly, Eileen. Smile of Discontent. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999. Hall, Catherine. “The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick maker: The Shop and Family in the Industrial Revolution.” In The Victorian City, edited by R. J. Moris and Richard Rodger, 307–321. London: Longman, 1993. Schor, Hilary M. Scheherezade in the Marketplace: Elizabeth Gaskell and the Victorian Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Tamara Wagner

CROMPTON, RICHMAL (1890–1969) A former schoolteacher who retired because of ill health at age 33, Richmal Crompton wrote novels and stories, initially as a sideline but increasingly to support herself and her widowed mother. She was extremely successful from the end of World War I until her death from a heart attack in 1969. She became famous for her “William” stories—filling almost 40 volumes—in which an unkempt, cheery, and irrepressible boy and his gang of friends known as “the Outlaws” get into scrapes and face the wrath of the authorities, represented by parents and teachers. The stories are striking for their celebration of William’s anarchic antiauthoritarian stance and for their conservative evocation of a certain type of ordered middle-class village life in 1920s and 1930s England: a world of cooks, housemaids, tea parties, tennis tournaments, and cycling. Even when the novels move forward into wartime (William remains at age 11), life goes on much as it always has done, despite the arrival of evacuees and rationing. Many of the stories concern William’s attempts to best pompous adults, including his family, who rarely share his view of the world; others involve his attempts to extricate himself from the clutches of his sole female admirer, the lisping Violet Elizabeth Bott, daughter of the nouveau riche Mr. and Mrs. Bott, whose money comes

from sauce. Disparaged in later life by Crompton, who claimed to be weary of having to give the public a new book every year and who was also perpetually disappointed that her novels for adults never sold half so well, the William stories are nonetheless the work of a skillful and witty writer, and the character is still a national institution in the United Kingdom. Unlike that of Enid Blyton, Crompton’s work has never fallen out of favor, and recent reevaluations have begun to recognize her central place in the landscape of 20thcentury popular culture and the historical currents of which she is a part.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Cadogan, Mary. Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William. London: Unwin, 1986. Crompton, Richmal. Just William. London: Newnes, 1922. ———. William the Fourth. London: Newnes, 1924. ———. William the Conqueror. London: Newnes, 1926. ———. William the Outlaw. London: Newnes, 1927. ———. William the Showman. London: Newnes, 1937. Andrew Maunder

CROSS CHANNEL JULIAN BARNES (1996) Cross Channel was JULIAN BARNES’s first book of short fiction. It collects 10 stories about the English experience of France over 350 years, from the 17th to the early 21st century. Five of these tales were first published in the New Yorker and Granta. Drawing on a broad array of storytelling techniques and styles—from Regency letters to first-person accounts in cycling slang—these stories articulate a number of Barnes’s primary thematic concerns, such as truth and its verifiability and our relationship to the past. “Experiment,” a fine example of Barnes’s wit, examines questions of truth through the narrator’s investigation of the past of his uncle, who claimed that he was once mistaken for a surrealist because of his poor pronunciation of French. In “EVERMORE,” the best story of the collection, Barnes explores questions of memory and the inaccessibility of the past through the story of a British proofreader who pays her yearly visit to the grave of the brother she lost in World War I. Although the stories are all set in France, they do not seek to depict the French way of life as perceived by English travelers. Barnes uses the French otherness


rather as decor to address the notion of Englishness through issues as diverse as religion, food, language, love, sexuality, and art. As pointed out by a Times Literary Supplement reviewer, Barnes’s characters remain, despite their encounter with French culture, thoroughly English. For example, in “Interference,” a vain English composer, who has retired to a French village because “it [is] not permitted to be an artist in England,” will listen only to BBC concerts and will not interact with the villagers, whom he sees as a nuisance: In “Hermitage,” two Victorian spinsters buy a rundown vineyard in France and obstinately stick to their high (British) principles as they reestablish it. Assembled in a nonchronological order, the stories switch at random from a somber evocation of the persecution of Huguenots in the 17th century (“Dragons”) to a vernacular account of a Tour de France in the 1990s (“Brambilla”), or from a cricketer’s view on the aftermath of the French Revolution (“Melon”) to a poignant commemoration of World War I (“Evermore”). The haphazard order and the diversity of tone have led reviewers to point out a lack of coherence in Cross Channel, even if its final piece attempts to unite the whole collection: “Tunnel” abounds in allusions to the preceding tales and informs the reader that the stories in the collection have all been written by the protagonist, an elderly writer (a visionary selfportrait by Barnes) who rides on the Eurostar train in the year 2015 and sifts through his favorite traveling memories. In addition to a lack of unity, negative critiques have identified an overwhelming profusion of historical facts. However, despite these less favorable reactions, Cross Channel has been well received on both sides of the Channel. Reviewers have praised Barnes’s wit, erudition, and elegance of style, as well as his ability to re-create the language and atmosphere of each time period in this fragmented but inventive portrait of three centuries of cross-channel history.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Barnes, Julian. Cross Channel. London: Jonathan Cape, 1996. Furbank, P. N. “If the French Were Shorter in Flaubert’s Day, Did They Need to Be Less Fat in Order to Be Called ‘Fat’?” London Review of Books, 4 January 1996, p. 22.

Kempton, Adrian. “A Barnes’-Eye View of France,” FrancoBritish Studies 22 (1996): 92–101. Mangan, Gerald. “Très british,” Times Literary Supplement, 19 January 1996, p. 24. Virginie Renard

“CROSS LINE, A” GEORGE EGERTON (1893) This story by GEORGE EGERTON (Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright) first appeared in the influential collection KEYNOTES. Published in 1893 by Elin Mathews and John Lane, it was the first book in a series of 33 volumes, 13 of which would be written by so-called NEW WOMAN writers. These works openly explored female sexuality, questioned women’s options, attempted to render the psychological states of women, and experimented with narrative. In all of these, Egerton led the way, not only freeing others to write “like women” but most surely pioneering the way for D. H. LAWRENCE, whose 1921 novel Women in Love explores the sexual and psychological tensions between lovers in like manner to “A Cross Line.” Egerton’s story begins with a man’s voice described significantly as “profane,” “indelicate,” “vulgar,” and unwelcome. The voice is heard by a woman sitting on a “felled tree” in the middle of a wilderness with “lopped” branches all around. Nearby “a little river rushes along in haste to join a greater sister that is fighting a troubled way to the sea.” These images reflect the woman’s troubled psychological state: Surrounded by vibrant nature, she, like many of the trees, has been tamed, but her spirit continues to rebel through flights of fantasy. The voice becomes a whistle, and then the man appears. He is a stranger, and she is to him at first only “the female animal,” as if he has just chanced upon some interesting bug. The pair discuss fishing, but their dialogue slowly transforms into a courtship dance, in which each is sexually drawn to and repulsed by the other. There is no physical contact, however, because they recognize a line they should not cross because the woman is married. The woman then returns to her husband, who is by all accounts an attentive lover and satisfactory companion. They seem to be happily married, although Egerton realistically portrays their struggles to communicate as if there were a line between them, a line drawn by gender, one that they cannot cross.


As summer continues in the peaceful country existence for this couple, the monotony becomes oppressive, and the wife escapes into a fantasy world of adventure and sexual freedom. She also becomes introspective about who she is as a woman among women. In 1932 Egerton wrote, “There was only one small plot left for her to tell: the terra incognita of herself, as she knew herself to be, not as man liked to imagine her— in a word to give herself away, as man had given himself away in his writings” (58). Yet, the woman in this story identifies a line that must not be crossed: Women must give but never want. They are expected to tame the wild beast in men, but they are not, cannot be passionate themselves. But this woman declares, “I have been for myself and helped myself, and borne the burden of my own mistakes.” Finally she affirms her identity in a community of women and mothers (her own mother, who is dead, and a maid whose child is also

dead) and opts to accept motherhood over licentiousness, for she is pregnant and remains sexually faithful to her husband.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Egerton, George. “A Cross Line.” In Nineteenth-Century Short Stories by Women: A Routledge Anthology, edited by Harriet Devine Jump. New York: Routledge, 1998. ———. “A Keycycle to Keynotes.” In Ten Contemporaries: Notes towards their Definitive Bibliography. Edited by John Gadsworth, London: Ernst Benn Ltd, 1932. McCullogh, Kate. “Mapping the ‘Terra Incognita’ of Women: George Egerton’s Keynotes (1893) and the New Woman Fiction.” In The New Nineteenth Century: Feminist Readings of Underread Victorian Fiction, edited by Barbara Leah Harman and Susan Meyer, 205–223. New York: Garland, 1996. Stetz, M. D. “George Egerton,” Turn of the Century Women 1, no. 1 (1984): 2–8. Brenda Ayres


DD an account of his experiences during the war. Initially planning to write a feature for the Saturday Evening Post based on Dahl’s narrative, Forester was so impressed with the young man’s writing that he refused to change a word. With Forester’s encouragement, a newly published essay, and a check for $900, Dahl set out to become a professional writer. With the exception of The Gremlins (1943), a children’s book Dahl adapted from a screenplay he had written for Disney, the majority of the author’s early fiction was written for an adult audience. Over the next 15 years, Dahl published short stories in the Saturday Evening Post, the New Yorker, and Harper’s, earning a reputation as a master of the short story form. In 1953, Alfred Knopf released Someone Like You, a collection containing some of Dahl’s most famous tales. Stories such as “TASTE,” “Lamb to the Slaughter,” “A Dip in the Pool,” “Skin,” and “The Sound Machine” display the unsettling tension that continues to draw readers to Dahl’s prose. Adroitly blending humor, innocence, and elements of the macabre into short stories with surprising plot twists, Dahl quickly built a large audience in both the United States and his native England. A rare critical and popular success, Dahl was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America on three occasions. With the simultaneous release of TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED, an anthology of Dahl’s adult short stories, and broadcast of the eponymous television series, the author solidified his place among the best postwar short story writers in English.

DAHL, ROALD (1916–1990) The only son of Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Hesselberg, Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916, in Llandoff, Wales. Although Roald was not yet four years old at the time of his father’s death in 1920, he acquired his father’s lifelong passions for fine furniture, painting, and gardening, themes that occur regularly in Dahl’s fiction. It was Sofie, however, who exerted the most influence on her son’s literary future by introducing the boy to the fantastic fairy tales and legends of her native Norway. Dahl entered Llandaff Cathedral School when he was seven, a time he remembered mostly for his trips to the local candy shop. In 1925, Dahl became a pupil at St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Weston-SuperMare, where he first encountered the stern headmasters and corporal punishment he would later write about in his short stories. At age 13, Dahl began attending the famous Repton Public School in Derbyshire. Here he endured the same sort of brutal flogging at the hands of a sadistic prefect as William Perkins does under Foxley in Dahl’s short story “Galloping Foxley.” At the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, Dahl enlisted as an aviator in the Royal Air Force, serving primarily in southern Europe and northern Africa. Eventually, after having suffered numerous injuries of varying severity, Dahl was declared an invalid and was transferred to Washington, D.C., as an air attaché in 1942. While in Washington, Dahl met C. S. Forester, who requested that the young aviator provide him with 96


Despite the tremendous success of Dahl’s adult-oriented short stories, much of the author’s fame rests on the popularity of his children’s books, many of which are regarded as classics. Shortly after Dahl’s marriage to Patricia Neal in 1953, the author’s experiences as a father telling bedtime stories to his daughters inspired him to try his hand at children’s literature. The unparalleled popularity of James and the Giant Peach (U.S., 1961; U.K., 1967) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (U.S., 1964; U.K. 1967) introduced the author to a new audience and made Dahl a household name. After divorcing Patricia Neal in 1983, Dahl married Felicity Crosland and continued writing children’s literature until his death on November 23, 1990. Since his death, the U.K. editions of Dahl’s books have sold more than 30 million copies, making the author one of the 20th century’s most read writers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dahl, Roald. The Collected Short Stories of Roald Dahl. London: Penguin, 1992. ———. Tales of the Unexpected. New York: Vintage, 1979. ———. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. London: Jonathan Cape, 1977. “Roald Dahl Biography.” The Official Roald Dahl Website. Available online. URL: http://www.roalddahl. com. Accessed May 10, 2006. Treglown, Jeremy. Roald Dahl: A Biography. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1994. Warren, Alan. Roald Dahl. San Bernadino, Calif.: Borgo Press, 1988. Erik Grayson


Originally subtitled “A Study,” this novella was first published by Leslie Stephen, the father of VIRGINIA WOOLF, in the Cornhill Magazine (see MAGAZINES). The choice of a British press cost HENRY JAMES his American rights. The sheer amount of pirated versions, however, hints at the succès de scandale the book turned out to be in the literary marketplace on both sides of the Atlantic: Daisy-Millerites celebrated the textual subtleties of observation, while the (less numerous) anti-Daisy-Millerites disparaged it as a foreign and all-too-abrasive judgment on American citizens abroad.

The story of the young American naif sojourning in Europe was generally received as a theatrical comedy or tragicomedy of manners, even more so since James himself reworked his plot into a three-act comedy in 1883, characteristically failing at the dramatic medium. Critics have often commented on the text’s uncomfortable blend of the comic and mythic and the overly melodramatic structure peppered with a substantial amount of symbolically significant names, like “Daisy,” the spring flower suggesting freshness and innocence; a would-be lover whose name puns on winter-born; an inappropriately immobile Mrs. Walker; and the conflagration of old and new money imagery in the hotel’s name, Trois Couronnes. Yet taking into account that even a literary master may accommodate effects generally associated with sentimental domestic traditions, it seems more fruitful to approach the text as a cultural study by an artistic expatriate. Daisy Miller furnishes an early example of James’s so-called international theme, which juxtaposes unsophisticated American travelers with an old Europe brimming uneasily with a profound, often strikingly carnal, knowledge of the world. As a structuring device, this theme traces the choreographies of curiously transitory identities, which circulate across boundaries of all sorts. Moreover, the characteristically Jamesian point of view can already be detected in the use of a third-person narrative voice as a central intelligence, embodied in the young American, Frederick Winterbourne. The novella thus focuses on the observer, and Daisy as the object of the gaze is accessible for the reader only through his jaundiced eyes. Winterbourne’s voice, however, is still framed by that of a first-person narrator whose minute hesitations and slips of the tongue prevent readers from an unproblematic identification with the male protagonist, calling into question his reliability as a storyteller and his frequently clinical judgments. The novella begins with Winterbourne, just come over from Geneva, seated in the garden of the fashionably cosmopolitan hotel Trois Couronnes in the Swiss resort of Vevey. A disconnected bachelor with voyeuristic leanings, he is fully absorbed by his gentlemanly existence whose dated moral parameters account for his difficulty in understanding a fresh


young woman, Daisy Miller, who is literally crossing his path. The girl, with her fragmentary social know-how, seems on conscious display, adorned with a fan as an image of both feminine grace and challenge. In a recourse to a trope of realist writing, the text presents her as an unprotected daughter and a victim of flawed nurturing. She is associated with an uncultivated and alarmingly dysfunctional family background: Her father remains a blank, being far off on business; her mother is a hypochondriac dressing in Daisy’s discarded clothes; her younger brother is a xenophobic, provincial, and aggressively newly rich brat. Fascinated with her good looks and confused by her candor, Winterbourne tests her to see to what violation of social codes she can be lured. Yet her behavior— when she upholds her suggestion of a boat trip à deux to Chillon, paying no heed to the warnings of the courier Eugenio, and even urges Winterbourne to come and see her in Rome—threatens to overwhelm the neat categories of her suitor’s obsessively itemizing mind. In his desperate attempts to make her legible by finding epithets and attaching labels, he seeks the feedback of his ilk in the expatriate American community of which his aunt Mrs. Costello is a crucial part. Here, among people more European than the Europeans, Daisy is unremittingly judged for letting herself be talked about in picking up chance acquaintances. The subsequent geographical shift notwithstanding, rumors about Daisy fill the air in Rome as well. Confronted with her Italian cavalier, the gentleman lawyer Giovanelli, Winterbourne suddenly finds himself a substitute Eugenio dedicated to safeguard her. When the young woman is caught walking with both men in the Pincian Gardens in a blatant trespass of codes of propriety and refuses to heed Mrs. Walker’s urgent remonstrations, the American diaspora finally closes its ranks by ostracizing Daisy publicly as “damaged goods.” The object of this moral outrage, however, defiantly and deliberately leaves Winterbourne still at sea with regard to her possible engagement with Giovanelli. Moreover, she even ventures to pay a nocturnal visit to the Colosseum with the Italian, even though the sacrificial site is notorious for its miasmal atmosphere.

Winterbourne overhears their plans and seems to arrive finally at his sought-for ultimate reading of Daisy. He settles on the worthlessness of his former object of attention, and this pivotal scene is followed by the laconic report of her death by fever, which she contracted during her nightly excursion. Ambiguously, her loss of life in spring is either sentimentally readable as a willed suicide motivated by Winterbourne’s rejection of her or as a mere outcome of her imprudence. Winterbourne himself admits that confusion as to the young woman’s character still lingers in his mind, even more so since Daisy’s mother fulfills her daughter’s last wish in informing him that Daisy was never Giovanelli’s fiancée. With his return to Geneva, however, which seems motivated by some foreign lady who is sojourning there, the plot comes full circle: Any illusion of personal development is shattered, as Winterbourne continues in his determination to censor otherness in order to maintain the social entropy that is required for his survival as a gentleman gigolo. In this novella about the male gaze, everybody is busy forging fictions about others to such an extent that none of the narratives can be authenticated. Always alive to alternative options, the text resists the very conventions of realistic characterization on which it relies. The central consciousness is forever failing to arrive at ultimate certainty; the excess of sobriquets attached to Daisy drains them of any defining function. The gossip that characterizes the settings of Rome and Geneva may well look back on long traditions of moral absolutism, be they Catholic or Calvinist, yet it never fully manages to blot out Daisy’s plain formulation of relativity: “People have different ideas.” The novella furnishes an example of indeterminacy and the provisionality of identities that came to be registered as a distinctively Jamesian hallmark. Moreover, in setting its characters afloat on a sea of rumors while telling a tale of failed communication and epistemological insecurity, the text anticipates a central concern of modernist writing.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bell, Millicent. Meaning in Henry James. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991.


Fogel, Daniel Mark. Daisy Miller: A Dark Comedy of Manners. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Graham, Kenneth. “Daisy Miller: Dynamics of an Enigma.” In New Essays on Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw, edited by Vivian R. Pollak, 35–63. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. James, Henry. Daisy Miller and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Weisbuch, Robert. “Henry James and the Idea of Evil.” In The Cambridge Companion to Henry James, edited by Jonathan Freedman, 102–119. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Sandra Gottfreund

D’ARCY, ELLA (1857–1937)

Thought to be one of the most promising young female writers of the 1890s, D’Arcy was by some accounts first published by Charles Dickens, Jr., in his magazine All the Year Round; the first available proof of publication is for her story “The Expiation of David Scott,” a conventional melodrama of love, jealousy, and revenge, which appeared in Temple Bar in December 1890. Although her early effort was poorly reviewed by the Athenaeum, D’Arcy continued to publish sentimental stories such as “An April Folly,” “A Modern Incident,” and “The Smile” under the pseudonym Gilbert H. Page in the Argosy between 1891 and 1893. These early stories are not of the caliber of her later stories. D’Arcy’s career in short fiction really began with the publication of her master work, “The Elegie,” in Blackwood’s in November 1891. It was later published in her first collection, Monochromes, with John Lane for his Keynote Series in 1895. In this story, a young woman, Marie the daughter of an aristocrat, idolizes a young composer, Emil Schoenemann. They become engaged, but her father banishes him to Paris for seven years to test his faithfulness. Marie remains true to the decadent Schoenemann while his cynicism increases. He finally returns to her and finds her on her funeral bier: Marie has died rather than be forced to marry her cousin. Schoenemann composes a magnificent elegie from the sensation of her death, but it is clear that he is not overwhelmed with grief. This story foregrounds themes that are, from this point forward, extensively considered in D’Arcy’s work. The concept of the demands of genius and its companion, solipsism; the

real versus idealized woman; and the battle of the sexes. Another example of her best work is “The PLEASUREPILGRIM,” also published in Monochromes, which contains masterly characterization of a neurotic British writer and his exploitation of a young American woman with advanced ideas whom he ultimately convinces to kill herself to prove her love. These stories, especially “The Elegie,” established D’Arcy as a writer influenced by French naturalism; recently she has also been considered a NEW WOMAN writer and a possible female decadent (see DECADENCE). This French influence, combined with psychological realism and a stark consideration of character as well as gender and sex, caused D’Arcy’s work to be rejected by mainstream publications as full of depressing episodes and squalid realism, but William Blackwood remained a strong supporter even of her short novel The Bishop’s Dilemma (1898). HENRY HARLAND, the editor of the new periodical The YELLOW BOOK, noted her originality and established her not only as a consistent contributor (her work appeared in 10 of 13 volumes) but as the informal subeditor of the quarterly. Her writing during this time continued to discuss, from a scathing perspective, both men and women’s responsibilities within contemporary debates on the relations between the sexes, religion, sexuality, and marriage. Harland removed her from her position as subeditor when she continually questioned his judgment over editorial decisions; there is some speculation that she was removed after the decline of an intimate relationship between the two. D’Arcy published a further collection, Modern Instances (1898) for John Lane, and her oeuvre is completed by four stories published from 1899 to 1910. Various sources posit D’Arcy as unmotivated despite her early success at the Yellow Book, where she and HENRY JAMES were the only two well-reviewed authors in the first volume. The depth of D’Arcy’s stories has also been critically undervalued, perhaps because of her limited number of texts, but there is no lack of intense interrogation of social issues in her existing fiction; in addition, she had a striking ability to create the mental atmosphere of her characters. D’Arcy never married but had affairs with several men and was the object of the unrequited affection of


CHARLOTTE MEW. She died in London at Saint Pancras Hospital on September 5, 1937.

BIBLIOGRAPHY D’Arcy, Ella. Modern Instances. New York: Garland, 1984. ———. Monochromes. New York: Garland, 1977. ———. “The Pleasure Pilgrim.” In Nineteenth Century Short Stories by Women, edited by Harriet Devine Jump, 283– 306. London: Routledge, 1998. Fisher, Benjamin. “Ella D’Arcy: A Commentary,” English Literature in Transition 35, no. 2 (1992); 179–211. Windholz, Anne. “The Woman Who Would Be Editor: Ella D’Arcy and The Yellow Book,” Victorian Periodicals Review 29, no. 2 (1996): 116–130. Sarah Maier

DARK NIGHT’S WORK, A ELIZABETH GASKELL (1863) Serialized in CHARLES DICKENS’s magazine All the Year Round (January–February 1863), ELIZABETH GASKELL’s A Dark Night’s Work details the devastating effects of a tragic secret shared by Edward Wilkins, a widowed lawyer in the rural town of Hamley, his daughter Ellinor, and his coachman Dixon. One night, during a heated, drunken argument, Wilkins accidentally kills his law partner, Mr. Dunster. Dixon is summoned by his master for assistance, while Ellinor accidentally stumbles onto the scene. Fearful of what the authorities will do to Wilkins, the trio decides that the crime must be covered up. The two men then set out for a “dark night’s work” of digging a grave for Dunster. They succeed at diverting suspicion from Wilkins. The local community assumes that Dunster has run off to America and taken his partner’s fortune with him. The three cannot, however, escape the guilt they feel. Ellinor falls ill for an extended period of time, while Wilkins descends into alcoholism. Although by tacit agreement, the trio never discuss the matter, Ellinor never again feels close to her father and has little contact with her old friend Dixon. Wilkins eventually dies a pathetic man, having squandered his fortune and alienated his daughter. Ellinor retires to a cathedral in East Chester with her governess, Miss Monro. Dixon, the ever-dutiful servant, stays behind to keep watch over the garden where Dunster lies. Eventually, the remains are discovered when workmen building a railroad excavate the ground. Ellinor, who is touring

Italy at the time, learns that Dixon has been charged with the murder, and by the time she can return to England, he has been convicted of the crime. Fortunately, Ellinor’s former fiancé, Ralph Corbet, is the judge for the case. Once she reveals that her father was the killer, Corbet has Dixon released. Finally free from guilt, Ellinor marries Reverend Livingstone, an old suitor. In the story’s final scene, Dixon is seen keeping watch over the couple’s two children, and it is said that Miss Monro visits them often. Consisting of 16 chapters, more than 160 pages, and an extensive narrative that features several interwoven plot lines, A Dark Night’s Work is more properly called a novella than a short story. Indeed, some sources, such as the Gaskell Web Project, consider it a full-length novel. Disputes over length strained the long-standing professional relationship between Gaskell and Dickens. Ironically for the contemporary reader, A Dark Night’s Work is of interest primarily for what it lacks. Its title and its focus on the haunting effects of a grisly crime of the kind favored by sensation writers WILKIE COLLINS and ELLEN WOOD suggest that this would be a gothic tale, but the story contains little that is shocking or scary. The only two disturbing events, Dunster’s death and the burial of his body, are only spoken of, not narrated directly. Gaskell’s aim here is not to frighten but rather to instruct. The plot, which is built around a series of improbable coincidences, conveys the simple moral lesson that one cannot escape the past. For years after the murder, the humble life of devotion and charity work that Ellinor leads offers her no solace from the guilt she feels. But after confessing her part in the crime in order to clear Dixon’s name, she finally achieves atonement. More important, she also earns the reward of marriage, the life’s goal of Victorian women and the end to which 19th-century realist narratives overwhelmingly aspire. Although Ellinor’s union with Reverend Livingstone seems inevitable from the moment he enters the text, it can occur only after she becomes worthy of marriage by laying bare the deceit on which her life has rested.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Foster, Shirley. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Literary Life. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.


Gaskell, Elizabeth. A Dark Night’s Work and Other Stories. Edited by Suzanne Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Stephen Severn

“DAUGHTERS OF THE LATE COLONEL, THE” KATHERINE MANSFIELD (1922) Published in The GARDEN PARTY and concerned, like the title story of the collection, with “the diversity of life and how we try to fit in everything, Death included” (Mansfield 1985, 259), this story was written one year before KATHERINE MANSFIELD’s own death and was considered by many reviewers a “cruel” piece when it was published. Like most fictions by Katherine Mansfield it is difficult to recount, being plotless—Mansfield despised “nice ‘plotty’ stories” (Mansfield 1985, 239)— although the title of the story tells something of what it is about. Josephine and Constantia, the two middleaged, unmarried and, childless protagonists of the story, have existed only in relation to their father, a symbol of Victorian patriarchy and imperialism. When the colonel is dead, the two women discover that although they are no longer obliged to obey his rule, their lifelong submission to his authority has stripped them of their potential for independence: They are unable to get away from the claustrophobic space of his house and exchange a world of escapist fantasies for the potential dangers of freedom and external reality. As in “Prelude” and “At the Bay,” one of the main achievements of “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” lies in its complex and modernist structure based on a significant tension between linear continuity and spatial contiguity—between the apparently logical succession of scenes and the illogical juxtaposition of images and unstated links. Section one begins in the sisters’ bedroom, a week after their father’s death, an event that will never be directly named until the last section of the story. From the start, Josephine and Constantia’s reaction to their loss appears both comic and pathetic, a mixture of embarrassment, nervousness, and paralysis. In section two, we realize that the sisters’ fearful attitude to Nurse Andrews and their servant Kate replicates their father’s tyranny over them. Section three records the sisters’ remembered horror at the gothic sight of their father opening “one eye only” just before

dying in his bed. Section four centers on a decorous visit from the vicar, in the drawing room, the day of the Colonel’s death. The conversation shows the sisters’ guilt and anxiety when confronted with male authority. Section five takes us back at the cemetery, when Josephine imagined their father’s resurrection and revenge for the fact that they buried him. In section six, the two women try to face their fears and weaknesses for the first time as they enter their father’s room, two mornings after his funeral. Constantia deliberately locks the Colonel’s wardrobe and takes the key out, a symbolic gesture of punishment that reminds Josephine of the day when she pushed her brother Benny into the pond. But in the section seven, as they are back in the dining-room, inner tension increases again: The sisters wonder what memento of their father they should send Benny while unconsciously making a link between domestic tyranny and the empire (we infer here that the colonel served in the colonial service in Ceylon). Deciding on a watch, a male symbol of historical and chronological time, Josephine then wonders in section eight whether their adult nephew Cyril should not have it. Until the end of section nine, the dining room dissolves in a happy memory of one of Cyril’s visits as a child. Sections ten and eleven take us back to the present and to the daughters’ indecisiveness and unlived lives. The final section of the story focuses on a series of metaphorical objects and images that embody the possibility for the sisters to escape from patriarchal order and develop their own female identities. The music from the barrel organ in the street defies the military order imposed on them by their father, the sparrows chirping on the window-sill echo Josephine’s “queer little crying noise” inside her, and the moonlight and the sea suggest a reconciliation with female rhythms and limitless territories. But when Constantia turns to her sister to articulate what she has glimpsed of this new fantasized life, the expected moment of self-revelation evaporates into oblivion: “I can’t say what I was going to say, Jug, because I’ve forgotten what it was . . . that I was going to say.” As Mansfield wrote to a friend in June 1921, “All was meant, of course, to lead up to that last paragraph, when my two flowerless ones turned with that timid gesture, to the sun. ‘Perhaps


now . . .’ And after that, it seemed to me, they died as surely as Father was dead” (Mansfield 1985, 224). The sisters’ awakening is smothered by their upbringing and education. The mixing of time and space in the 12 numbered sections of the story reminds us that for many modernist writers time is both subjective and objective; it is a complex flow of fragmented moments challenging the logical causality usually associated with time sequence. In this story, the illusion of chronological linearity created by the numbered sections is rapidly dismissed by the confusing function of the temporal ellipses and typographical gaps and by the sisters’ successive movements in the different rooms of the house. The use of flashbacks within the sections or in between them underlines the retreat into the subjective memory of an “eternal” past that functions like a prison. As the story unfolds and time elapses, the structuring of the narration draws attention to the circularity of the short story: Suspended in time, the daughters are unable to experience the cyclical time of creative and maternal capacity, an inability that seems to be confirmed by the absence of the mother in the story. But the structure of Katherine Mansfield’s story also has symbolical implications linked with its dramatic frame and main thematic impulses. “The Daughters of the Late Colonel” is a story concerned with Oedipal romance, with the neurotic fixity of gender roles, with authority and suppressed desire, alienation and freedom, life and death. If the story is indeed cruel, this cruelty is not primarily addressed to the sisters, whose unfulfilled lives are rendered poignant and humorous by Mansfield’s technique of point of view and free indirect style. It is rather the result of a harsh yet indirect criticism on a Victorian patriarchal system that victimizes its women to the point of making them unaware of their own potential.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Fullbrook, Kate. Katherine Mansfield. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Hanson, Clare, and Andrew Gurr. Katherine Mansfield. London: Macmillan, 1981. Kleine, Don W. “Katherine Mansfield and the Orphans of Time,” Modern Fiction Studies 24, no. 3 (Autumn 1978): 423–438.

Mansfield, Katherine. The Garden Party and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1998. ———. The Letters and Journals of Katherine Mansfield: A Selection. 1977. Edited by C. K. Stead. 4th ed. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1985. Anne Besnault-Levita

DAUGHTERS OF THE VICAR D. H. LAW(1911) This novella contrasts life-giving and life-denying attitudes, key themes in D. H. LAWRENCE’s stories. Salient details of Midlands country life give this story its realism: A miner’s widow plans brussels sprouts, meat, and apple pie for dinner; moleskin trousers smell of mining; snowflakes on a train window and the mining lift entrance viewers. Fabular elements appear, too: A proud, dark, and beautiful eldest daughter (Mary) trades her body for status, marrying for money; the stubborn, blond, and plain second daughter (Louisa) vows to marry for love. Written in 1911 as “Two Marriages,” Lawrence revised the story in 1913 and 1914 before publication in The Prussian Officer and Other Stories to focus on emotional and erotic life. Lack of money and admiration appear as barriers to happiness for the vicar and his wife, who move from Cambridge when an influx of miners swells the population of Aldecross. Despite a meager income, the couple instill their sense of superiority and their bourgeois values in their children. The vicar’s ill health brings a young clergyman to town; he represents the amassing of learning, perhaps money, at the cost of vitality. Slight in build, Mr. Massy seems “an abortion,” “infantile,” and defective in masculinity. He physically repulses the older daughter, yet she admires his “abstract goodness” and morality. Because of her impoverishment and because her father considers it “not a bad match,” Mary accepts Massy’s proposal. She “paid with her body” and “bought her position,” she thinks. A domineering husband, Massy becomes an obsessively anxious father, endangering his wife’s health. Children force Mary to recognize that she cannot deny the body. A mining family also exhibits warped sexuality. The Oedipal situation echoes Paul Morel’s plight in the novel Sons and Lovers, itself autobiographical. Widowed Mrs. Durant binds her youngest son to her: Alfred feels ashamed, incompetent, and unmanly. Enlisting “makes RENCE


a man of him,” yet after returning, nearly 30 years old, he still cannot leave home. When cancer kills his mother, his grief is reminiscent of Morel’s. As Keith Cushman shows, earlier versions of the story portray Louisa as a substitute mother. In the published version, Louisa breaks through class difference, social conventions, and self-consciousness to a transforming passionate connection with Alfred. Deferential, distant, and nearly mute, Alfred cannot respond to her initial overtures. Impassioned “beyond herself,” she declares that she wants to stay with him. A transfiguring “agony” bares their “souls” and leads to lovemaking. The 13th of 15 sections ends with their laughter about the smudges on Louisa. Louisa’s father calls their engagement “unseemly” and wants to avoid as much “loss of prestige as possible,” so the couple plan to emigrate to Canada. The crucial scene of washing a man’s body appears in Sons and Lovers, Aaron’s Rod, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Written earlier, “ODOUR OF CHRYSANTHEMUMS” uses the washing of a corpse to show essential separateness and a failed marital connection. In Daughters of the Vicar, revelation of male beauty galvanizes Louisa’s desire; washing and a mother’s death unite a vicar’s daughter and a mama’s boy. Like Middlemarch in its focus on two sisters, Daughters treats issues raised in The Rainbow (written concurrently) and anticipates Women in Love. Carol Siegel sees the story as a reimagining of GEORGE ELIOT’s The Mill on the Floss in which Mary’s similarities to Maggie challenge Eliot’s view of renunciation. Siegel notes connections with KATHERINE MANSFIELD’s story “The DAUGHTERS OF THE LATE COLONEL.” Janice Hubbard Harris identifies a reversed “Sleeping Beauty” motif: A strong woman awakens a sleeping (or “Oedipally paralyzed”) prince. Like Cushman, Mara Kalnins examines the revisions of the story; she argues that the representation of Louisa’s sensual awakening constitutes a linguistic breakthrough. In its vocabulary of passion instead of pure social realism and its contextualizing of erotic love within familial dynamics, “The Daughters” exemplifies Lawrence’s visionary mode of short fiction.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Cushman, Keith. D. H. Lawrence at Work: The Emergence of the Prussian Officer Stories. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978.

Harris, Janice Hubbard. The Short Fiction of D. H. Lawrence. New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1984. Kalnins, Mara. “D. H. Lawrence’s ‘Two Marriages’ and ‘Daughters of the Vicar.’ ” Ariel 7 (1976): 32–49. Lawrence, D. H. The Prussian Officer and Other Stories. Edited by John Worthen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Siegel, Carol. Lawrence among the Women. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991. Elizabeth Wilson

DAVIES, RHYS (1901–1978)

Rhys Davies contributed more than 100 stories to English, Welsh, and American periodicals between 1926 and 1978. In addition to his many short stories, he published approximately 20 novels and other writings, including autobiography, biography, drama, and travel books. His long and prolific career naturally engaged a wide range of themes that were compounded by the complexity of his identity. Davies was a gay man and the son of a shopkeeper born into what in his autobiography, Print of a Hare’s Foot, he described as the “heavily masculine” culture of working-class Wales (59). At a young age, he left his hometown of Blaenclydach to pursue a literary career in London by marketing his Welsh origins. Some of Davies’s interest as a writer, therefore, is his negotiation of class, nation, and sexuality. Additionally, as a professional writer who lived entirely by his ability to produce large quantities of fiction, he provides special insights into the culture of the literary market and the short story’s position as an unmarketable and therefore more “purely aesthetic” cultural production. As a professional writer, Davies was a short story writer on off-hours only, for novels were the bread and butter of anyone seeking to make a living by writing. In the preface to his self-edited Collected Stories of Rhys Davies, he describes the short story as a “luxury which only those writers who fall in love with them can afford to cultivate” (viii), and he did so, for he believed it to be the more elegant form. Defending the genre in a letter to the Times Literary Supplement’s reviewer G. H. Wells, who favored the political realist novel, Davies insists that he “never felt [himself] bowing and prostrate before size and bulk: in fact [he’d] always been


suspicious as to the imaginative capability of its producer.” The short story, Davies claimed, thrives in lively brevity: “That instinct to dive, swift and agile, into the opening of a story holds, for me, half the technical art; one must not on any account loiter or brood in the first paragraph; be deep in the story’s elements in a few seconds” (Davies 1995, viii). In contrast to the novel, “that great public park so often complete with great drafty spaces, noisy brass band and unsightly litter, the enclosed and quiet short story garden is of small importance, and never has been much more” (1955, v). But in this “small importance,” Davies later claimed in a letter of 1950, there is a powerful impetus, for in the short story “one can be, so to speak, more human. There is a fire-side, pure tale-telling quality . . . and they can convey with much more success than the novel the ancient or primitive, the intrinsic flavour of a race or people” (letter to Buckin Moon, May 31, 1950, Harry Ranson Humanities Research Center). Davies’s comment on the racial value of the short story belies his more aesthetic claims and reveals his awareness of his marketability as a Welsh writer, for Davies’s initial and abiding success in the literary market was as the representative Welshman (and often, consequently, as the authentic voice of the working class). Davies’s representations of Welsh communities are often sordid and savage attacks upon a petty and selfish Nonconformist Welsh (i.e., not Anglican). His first three stories, in particular, are recognizably written after the style of Caradoc Evans, whose My People (1905) caused a stir in England and elicited the ire of a Wales that felt betrayed by one of its own. But not all of Davies’s stories follow this strain of criticism. Many of his stories of Wales are tragic and sympathetic treatments of labor. “On the Tip” (1936), for instance, displays the abiding nobility and humanity of men scraping the most meager living from the dregs of the Depression. Many stories are comic and affectionate, like the rugby-match follies of “Canute” (1949) or the death-mocking revelry of “Mourning for Ianto” (1942). The influence of D. H. Lawrence, with whom Davies became friends before Lawrence’s death, is evident in a wide selection of novels and in such stories as “Blodwen” (1931) and “The Skull” (1936). Other stories

favor representations of women, especially “Nightgown” (1942), which portrays the demeaning and desperate state of women in a male-dominated society of masculine labor. Davies’s frequent sympathy for female characters in working-class Wales also echoes his own feelings of alienation as a gay man. Stories such as “Fear” (1949) and “The Dark World” (1942) reflect the awakening of a mind unsuited to surroundings that entrap their protagonists. More explicitly “queer” stories, such as “The Doctor’s Wife” (1931), “The Romantic Policewoman” (1933), and “Wigs, Costumes, Masks” (1949), explore the matrices of power and knowledge in the textual silence surrounding Davies’s articulation of gay revelations. Davies had much to say about nation, class, and sexuality, but he was also concerned with making a living and building a career as a professional writer. He longed for the distinction of highbrow authorship, he dreamed of achieving the success of the best-selling author, but he never succeeded in becoming much more than a moderately well–selling author. Davies’s professional anxieties are perhaps best summed up in a review in the New Age of a special-edition story, “A Bed of Feathers,” published by the Mandrake Press in 1929. The reviewer dismissed Davies as “the highbrow’s Elinor Glynn.” Davies took this review to heart, referring to it twice in his personal correspondence, and it is an apt description of a writer who longed for success, who resented the market that denied it to him, and who cultivated an aesthetic distance and highbrow indifference to shore up some authorial authenticity. This aesthetic indifference and antipathy to the market is evident in his conception of the short story, but it also appears in several of the stories themselves. For instance, Davies describes a publisher in “Doris of Gomorrah” (1933) who “made spectacular sums of money on tasteless books that the public could respect as safely as the tapioca puddings they resembled.” For Davies, the short story had an almost magical quality that could dispel his Grub Street dependence on novel writing. As he lamented to a poet friend, Phillip Henderson, at the outset of his career, “All I can say is get a couple of decently written novels done and you’ll soon get enough to buy yourself a couple of sausages for dinner for at least a year” (September 16, 1928,

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MS22C03E #31 National Library of Wales). The short story would bring no sausages, but it did feed Davies’s aesthetic fantasies. Aside from being a true craftsman of a large and varied oeuvre of stories, and aside from being a site for complex negotiations of identity, Davies’s career also places the short story within the complexities of its circulation in such wide-ranging literary markets as magazines, special editions, anthologies, collections, and collectors’ shops. Some very good work has been conducted on Davies’s writing, but he is still an understudied figure in the forms and contexts of the short story genre. (See WALES.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Davies, Rhys. Collected Stories of Rhys Davies. London: Heinemann, 1955. ———. Print of a Hare’s Foot, An Autobiographical Beginning. 1968. Bridgend, Wales: Seren, 1998. ———. Uncollected papers and letters. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ———. Uncollected papers and letters. National Library of Wales. Osborne, Huw Edwin. “Rhys Davies, Professional Writer: Identities in the Marketplace,” North American Journal of Welsh Studies 3, no. 1 (Winter 2003): 1–32. S., J. Review of A Bed of Feathers, by Rhys Davies. New Age, 18 July 1929, p. 143. Stephens, Meic. Rhys Davies, Collected Stories. 3 vols. Llandysul, Wales: Gomer, 1998. ———. Rhys Davies: Decoding the Hare—Critical Essays to Mark the Centenary of the Writer’s Birth. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001. Huw Osborne


JAMES JOYCE began writing “The Dead” in 1907, somewhat later than the other stories in Dubliners, the collection in which it was finally published in 1915. It is considerably longer than the other stories, and some commentators regard it not as a short story but as a novella. In addition to the difference in form from the other stories, it also seems to have a different moral perspective or stance toward Ireland. It is generally seen as playing an important transitional role between Joyce’s earlier, shorter work and the longer, more technically

involved later work. Like most of Joyce’s other narratives, not much seems to be happening in terms of surface action. The story’s real resonance comes from the complex narrative and thematic subtleties incorporated into its underlying structure. Like all of Joyce’s fiction, it has provoked an enormous amount of critical and interpretive attention. It has been dramatized and was made into a film by John Huston in 1987. The events themselves are easily summarized: Two elderly unmarried women—Julia and Kate—and their niece Mary Jane are giving their annual epiphany season dinner and dance in their home on Usher’s Island in Dublin at the turn of the century. Their nephew, Gabriel Conroy, the main character from whose perspective most of the action is revealed, arrives at the party with his wife, Gretta. They greet and converse with the other guests, with whom they are familiar. Much of this disjointed conversation is reproduced. The self-absorbed Gabriel, a teacher and literary man, is nervous about delivering some after-dinner remarks he has prepared. Memories of the past, associations with various guests, and concerns about how he is regarded flit through his mind. He is also irritated with some of the guests and feels that his talk will be above the heads of his audience. When the time comes to deliver his comments, he praises his two aunts and their niece highly and celebrates the values of the past. After the dinner, he and his wife return in a cab to a hotel room they have rented for the occasion of the dinner. Gabriel feels lustful toward his wife, but these feelings are undercut by Gretta’s memories of Michael Furey, an early suitor of hers who died when he was only 17. First Gretta falls asleep, and then, finally, Gabriel. Underneath these mundane actions lies the story’s rich interpretive potential. The title of the story suggests its major theme: the awareness of the claims of the past—the dead—on an individual and his willingness or reluctance to accept those claims. The story incorporates many of these associations with the past through various motifs that run through the story. The first word of the story, for instance, is “Lily,” the name of the caretaker’s daughter who welcomes the guests to the party. The associations that can be made with lily include half a dozen potential connections with death


and its counterpart, resurrection. The lily is a common flower at funerals because it also suggests resurrection. In addition, it is the emblem of the archangel Gabriel, who welcomes those who have died into heaven, so it prefigures the appearance of Gabriel Conroy. A lily’s whiteness might also suggest snow, a major motif in the story, in its associations with cold—a deathlike quality—but also in its ability to cover, preserve, and finally provide the sustenance for rebirth or revitalization. The setting of the story during the epiphany season—something that is never mentioned explicitly but must be deduced from the text—has suggested to many commentators that in the course of the story Gabriel Conroy moves toward his own epiphany, or sudden insight into the true nature of things. One of the story’s major issues is the degree of Gabriel’s commitment to Ireland and things Irish. Intellectually he is inclined to associate himself with the “east,” or Europe and England—with new trends. Molly Ivors, his colleague and an Irish nationalist who attends the party, teases him by making fun of these inclinations. Emotionally, he comes to realize in the course of the story, he cannot shake off identifications with Ireland, or the “west.” Other motifs in the story suggest these ingrained cultural identifications: the old stories being told, the memories of deceased friends, the associations of specific images linked to Ireland’s past. These and other evocative aspects of the story remain implicit, and their meanings remain suggestive rather than clear-cut or definite. The deliberate ambiguity contributes to the story’s rich potential of meaning. Another important pattern is Gabriel’s growing selfawareness. What exactly this awareness consists of is, however, open-ended. The story’s final scene in the hotel room pulls together many of the issues Gabriel has been grappling with and involves the forging of a new dimension of his identity—a realization, for instance, of a more complex meaning of love and his deeper connections with his heritage. The final paragraph shifts into an even more poetic mode, using the snow outside the window to suggest links with a greater humanity, a kind of universality and universal experience that Gabriel may be now acknowledging or at least be aware of. The language of this scene also contains repetitions of images and symbols employed earlier in the story.

Whether Gabriel will awaken a new man is unclear. One extreme would be to assume the terms of Gabriel’s sleep, “The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward,” are figurative terms for his death— that nothing has happened. Another view might focus more on the story’s hints of resurrection or rebirth and argue that the old Gabriel must die in order that the new individual might be born and that he will awaken with a heightened awareness. A middle view might see his final realization as the semiconscious, dreamlike state between wakefulness and sleep, and perhaps only a passing perception. Some commentators, like Richard Ellmann, whose highly regarded biography of Joyce includes a useful essay on the story, have argued that in “The Dead” Joyce gives a rendering of himself if he had stayed in Ireland and not gone into self-imposed exile in order to dedicate himself to his art.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ellman, Richard. James Joyce. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Joyce, James. Dubliners: Text, Criticism, and Notes. Edited by Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz. New York: Penguin USA, 1996. Schwarz, Daniel. James Joyce’s “The Dead”: A Case Study of Contemporary Criticism. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994. Tom Loe

DEBITS AND CREDITS RUDYARD KIPLING (1926) The publication of this collection marked the end of a long fallow period for RUDYARD KIPLING in which he struggled with depression (following his son, John’s death in WORLD WAR I) and a creative block. The collection of 14 stories, 19 poems, and two scenes from an unfinished play received a mixed response, although some did see Kipling as having returned to the form of his earlier works. The collection contains some of Kipling’s most famous stories, including “The Janeites,” which famously describes the sense of kinship created between men as a result of a shared passion for the works of Jane Austen. “A Madonna of the Trenches” focuses on the aftermath of the war and in particular on a man whose mind has been shattered not only by what he has encountered but also by his family life.


World War I also features in “A Friend of the Family” and “The GARDENER,” a story Kipling composed after a visit to the war cemetery at Bois Guillaume near Rouen on March 14, 1925. He was familiar with the bureaucracy of identifying bodies and notifying next of kin from his work with the War Graves commission. In “The Gardener” Helen Turrell returns from recuperating in France with the infant son of her dead ne’er-do-well brother and an unsuitable woman. She raises Michael with great devotion and allows him to call her “Mummy” at bedtime. Before beginning Oxford, Michael enlists in the army. He is soon listed as missing. Helen is informed that he is buried in a military cemetery in Belgium. On her way to visit the grave, Helen encounters two women. One is distraught because she cannot find her son’s grave; the other visits the cemetery ostensibly to take photos for her grieving friends, but the real reason, as she confides to Helen, is to visit the grave of a lover whom she could never acknowledge. Helen encounters a man in the cemetery who “looked at her with infinite compassion.” He tells her, “I will show you where your son lies.” Leaving the cemetery, she again sees the man, “supposing him to be the gardener.” Understatement and irony throughout the story lead up to this short exchange, the mystery of the story. What is the relationship between Helen and Michael? Is she, as many critics suggest, actually his mother? Has her life been a series of lies to cover up the birth of an illegitimate son? The passage refers to John 20:14– 15 in the Bible. Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus turns to a man who asks her why she is weeping; she answers him, “supposing him to be the gardener.” Is Christ the gardener providing Helen with heavenly consolation? Does the accompanying poem’s reference to Mary Magdalene and the themes of deception and discovery illuminate the ambiguity of the story? Or, as Dillingham has argued, is the story “a study of the excruciating and prolonged pain of bereavement” (68) in which religion brings no consolation? Is a biological connection necessary to explain Helen’s profound grief, or does parenthood mean more? As in other stories in the collection, inconsistencies and incomplete explanations force the reader to question the veracity of the third-person narrative. Conven-

tions and social forms are rigidly upheld by society, and the messy, emotional disturbances of life are covered up and repressed. Kipling’s language conveys through casual narrative the pain and grief that lies below the surface. The horror of Helen’s loss is underscored by the narrator’s calm, ironic revelation that “by means of time-tables made clear, how easy it was and how little it interfered with life’s affairs to go and see one’s grave.” Michael’s death, the catastrophe of the story, is contained: “a shell-splinter dropping out of a wet dawn killed him at once. The next shell uprooted and laid down over the body what had been the foundation of a barn wall, so neatly that none but an expert would have guessed that anything unpleasant had happened.” Like other stories in the collection this hints at hidden secrets and a private self. Kipling also reveals how repression of pain, love, and grief seem to be necessary for society to maintain order, but the price it ultimately exerts on individuals is shown in exquisite detail.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bauer, Helen Pike. Rudyard Kipling: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1994. Dillingham, William B. “Rudyard Kipling and Bereavement: ‘The Gardener,’ ” English Language Notes 39, no. 4 (2002): 60–71. Gilbert, Elliot. “Kipling’s ‘The Gardener’: Craft into Art,” Studies in Short Fiction 7 (1970): 308–319. Kipling, Rudyard. Debits and Credits. 1926. New York: House of Strauss, 2003. Lewis, Lisa. “Some Links between the Stories in Kipling’s Debits and Credits,” English Literature in Transition 25, no. 2 (1982): 74–85. Shanks, Edward. Review of Debits and Credits. London Mercury 14 (1926): 649–651. Margaret Godbey O’Brien


A literary movement of the late 19th century that interacted with and resulted from AESTHETICISM. There is little agreement among critics regarding a defining set of features to encompass decadence, especially since the term has been burdened with its origins from the Latin decadere, a falling away from or decline, and the French décadence, a waning or downfall. Walter Pater’s early influence on this


movement is found in the conclusion to his Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), where he encourages artists “to burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” The 1880s and 1990s associated the idea with the scandalous French “yellow” novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans’s À rebours (1884) and OSCAR WILDE’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), texts that read as breviaries of decadent themes and style. Shocking statements of perversity, sensuality, and sexual excess are mixed with a preference for art over nature, a love of artificial effects, an affinity for the city over country, and a preoccupation with exoticism; in addition, decadent literature is filled with the idea of ennui or moral exhaustion and synaesthetic experiences found in music, alcohol (such as absinthe), drugs (such as hashish or opium), sexual perversity, and various forms of art. The movement had a disdain for any traditional, natural, political, or moral ideals; rather, the importance of nonconformist form and subject matter were foregrounded. Authors of the short-lived decadent movement are illustrators, poets, short fiction writers, and novelists, including Charles Baudelaire, ERNEST DOWSON, J. K. Huysmans, Théophile Gautier, Stephane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, and Oscar Wilde; recently, scholars have also been interested in the work of female authors such as Rachilde (Margaret Eymery). The short fiction of the decadent movement (e.g., ELLA D’ARCY) was concentrated in the periodical press; in particular, John Lane’s controversial YELLOW BOOK and later the Savoy created by Arthur Symons and Aubrey Beardsley were popular vehicles for decadent work and short story writers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bernheimer, Charles. Decadent Objects. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2002. Robbins, Ruth. Pater to Foster, 1873–1924. London: Palgrave, 2004. Sarah Maier

DE LA MARE, WALTER (1873–1956) Walter de la Mare was born in Charlton, near Woolwich, London, the sixth child in a family of seven. Sent to the choir school at St. Paul’s Cathedral, he left at 17 to begin a career immediately as a statistical clerk with the Anglo-American Oil Company, the newly established

London office of J. D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. This period, lasting from 1890 to 1908, also marked the beginnings of de la Mare’s career as a writer. Slowly and patiently educating himself, he experimented with different forms of fiction and poetry on wastepaper sheets after hours and began to publish pseudonymously under the name Walter Ramal. First came a number of serialized short stories, which began to appear in 1895, followed by his first collection of poetry, Songs of Childhood, in 1902, and then several novels, including Henry Brocken (1904) and The Return (1910). De la Mare was to prove an enormously prolific writer, producing over 1,000 poems, roughly 100 stories for children and adults, and several volumes of edited anthologies and collections of critical essays. Official and popular recognition arrived, respectively, with the championship of the establishment writer Henry Newbolt, who obtained for him a royal bounty grant of £200 in 1908, and the publication of The Listeners in 1912, de la Mare’s first widely read collection of poetry for adults. These landmarks were quickly followed by his best-known collection of poems for children, Peacock Pie (1913), and a civil list pension (1915). By the time of his death, he had been awarded the Order of Merit and had been appointed a Companion of Honour by the British monarch. His ashes were buried, appropriately enough, in the crypt of St. Paul’s. As this brief summary suggests, de la Mare’s status has largely been defined by his official popularity, his prodigious output (particularly of poetry), and his appeal to several generations of children. Such a view has had a tendency to limit the sense of his critical value in general and has also, perhaps, obscured the appreciation of his short stories in particular. As might be suggested by the broad range of his literary production, these stories are enormously various and were produced for many different occasions and over an extended period of time. Yet even his first published tale, “Kismet” (1895), sets out the underlying tapestry of dark themes and suggestions that are repeatedly woven through his narratives. A seaman hitches a lift on a cart back to his own village, hoping to delight his wife by his unexpected return. He finds a comfortable box on which to sit, but his driver is inexplicably surly so he decides to make the final part of his journey on


foot. When he arrives, however, the cart stands outside his door, and the driver is inside, light streaming from the bedroom window. His wife is dead; the man who has brought him there is her undertaker, and the box on which he sat is her coffin. But even before this denouement, both main characters feel a vague presentiment of foreboding that they do not fully understand. In the traveler’s case, it is centred on “the pitiless cold stare of the moon upon all and the silence of death.” He is afraid but does not know why he fears, and his heart is thus eaten away. Controlling the structure of our experience and the innocence of life, even of childhood, is a dark, unknown well of the fearful, the archaic, or simply the unknown. De la Mare’s characters feel it as the sensation of a gaze, a sense that all is not quite right, an actively lurking corruption, or merely a dangerous lack of knowledge. For both John Atkins, one of de la Mare’s earliest critics, and Julia Briggs, the author of perhaps the most perceptive essay on his stories, death is the central and pervasive theme in his work. It expresses itself as both an exploration of the experience of death and, as Atkins puts it, the passage between “the tomb and the waste,” the journey from death to what lies beyond, from the known, or apparently known, to what can never be fully comprehended. Unlike Mr. Bloom, the subject of “A Recluse” (1926), who is “interested in edges no longer” because he has moved over death’s “borderline,” de la Mare’s characters are constantly concerned with the dynamics and the rhetoric of the edge, how it is measured and described. Where they never remain is in what the narrator of “A Recluse” calls the “central”: “it has been explored; it is safe; you know where you are.” As several observers have noted, in negotiating these borderlines effectively, de la Mare takes lessons from the short stories of HENRY JAMES. His prose, particularly in stories like “The Trumpet” (1936) or the sublimely malevolent “Seaton’s Aunt” (1922), is nearly as intricately dense and operates a version of James’s rhythmic “economy” in linguistically measuring the distance between the mundane and the extraordinary, the known and the unknown. Most often, however, its function is to map the impossibility of deciding between the two. Along with the work of many of his contemporaries, like ARTHUR MACHEN, M. R. JAMES, and

Algernon Blackwood, a significant proportion of de la Mare’s tales could be described as ghost stories, but, as with James, we can never be entirely certain in each instance that the cause is supernatural. In any case, de la Mare’s stories are most consistently preoccupied with being disconcerted by that which lies beyond the visible, known, or understood. Set against his modernist contemporaries, figures like VIRGINIA WOOLF and JAMES JOYCE, who worked to redefine the short story, de la Mare’s language has come to be seen as conventional and his sentiments complacent. In his quiet, careful negotiation of limits to the human experience, however, and his location of a precise and densely allusive prose answerable to those challenges, his own tales may have the potential to make equal, although different, claims on our attention.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alkins, John. Walter de la Mare: An Exploration, London: Folcroft, 1973. Briggs, Julia. Night Visitors: The Rise and Fall of the English Ghost Story. London: Faber, 1977. de la Mare, Walter. Short Stories, 1895–1926. edited by Giles de la Mare. London: Giles de la Mare Publishers, 1996. ———. Short Stories, 1927–1956. Edited by Giles de la Mare. London: Giles de la Mare Publishers, 2001. Whistler, Theresa. Imagination of the Heart: The Life of Walter de la Mare. London: Duckworth, 1993. David Towsey

“DEMON LOVER, THE” ELIZABETH BOWEN (1941) Published first in the Listener and reprinted in ELIZABETH BOWEN’s collection The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945), the title story is based on a traditional “border ballad” or folksong of the same title, the oldest version of which, “A Warning for Married Women,” collected by English diarist Samuel Pepys in 1703, has much in common with Bowen’s tale: A married woman is carried away by a vengeful lover who returns from the dead to punish her for breaking a vow. Bowen sets her version in London during the Blitz of WORLD WAR II. Kathleen Drover has come up from the country to gather some belongings from the shut-up family home. The eerie atmosphere of the bombed city and the silent house creates rising tension. Mrs. Drover


finds a letter that cannot have been delivered by post: It is from “K,” her soldier fiancé who died during WORLD WAR I. The letter reminds her of a promise she made him and announces his arrival later that afternoon. Terrified, she remembers parting from him, his cruelty, and her mother’s warnings. She felt overwhelmed by the promise, which is never specified but seems to involve staying true to each other through eternity. She did not grieve much at his death, and in her 30s she married an unremarkable man with whom she lived an ordinary life. She cannot even remember her soldier fiancé’s face. Not sure if the part-time caretaker is in the house or not, Mrs. Drover gathers her things and leaves in a waiting taxi, heartened by the presence of the driver. In a shocking ending, the taxi speeds off before Mrs. Drover can give directions, and as she is thrown against the partition between the seats, she sees the driver’s face and screams. The last glimpse of her is her hands beating against the windows as the taxi drives into the twilight. “The Demon Lover” lends itself to multiple interpretations. On one level, it is a modern ghost story, with its sinister revenant. The story has many features of a ghost story, or even of gothic: the atmospheric setting, seemingly supernatural coincidences of timing and place, a woman in peril, and the startling ending. Others have seen it as a more straightforward work of realism; the soldier, who somehow has survived World War I, is a psychopathic stalker who has been triggered by the current war into tracking his former lover. Thus the story leaves open the possibility that the caretaker is actually the fiancé in disguise. Another reading suggests that the soldier is a figment of Kathleen’s imagination. There are a number of hints in the story that she is not an emotionally strong woman; there is something almost childlike about her, and she seems uncomfortable with powerful feelings. In this reading, the stress of the war has brought her to a nervous breakdown. Nonetheless, by bringing a character from World War I into the setting of World War II, Bowen is also asking readers to make some connection between the wars, to find similarity in the inescapable dislocation and transformation of the familiar during war. The domestic setting also raises questions about the home and security: War is destroying Mrs. Drover’s

comfortable, upper-middle-class existence. In the postscript to The Demon Lover and Other Stories, Bowen notes that her stories are about wartime rather than warfare. As such, they are about impressions and psychological states rather than concrete war experiences. “The Demon Lover” is typical of her work in this and in its fascination with the darkness beneath the ordinary surface.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bowen, Elizabeth. The Demon Lover and Other Stories. London: Chatto and Windus, 1945. Calder, Robert L. “ ‘A More Sinister Troth’: Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The Demon Lover’ as Allegory,” Studies in Short Fiction 31 (1994): 91–97. Coates, John. “The Moral Argument of Elizabeth Bowen’s Ghost Stories,” Renascence 52, no. 4 (Summer 2000): 293–309. Reed, Toni. Demon-Lovers and Their Victims in British Fiction. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988. Terri Doughty

“DESTRUCTORS, THE” GRAHAM GREENE (1954) “The Destructors” first appeared serialized in two parts in Picture Post on July 24 and 31, 1954, and then was published in the collection Twenty-one Stories the same year. GRAHAM GREENE said in the preface to his Collected Stories, “I have never written anything better than ‘The Destructors,’ ” yet he adds, “I remain in this field a novelist who has happened to write short stories” (Kelly, 97). The story, as does much of Greene’s writing, deals with class differences and violence. “The Destructors” begins by introducing the reader to a group of children, the Wormsley Common Gang. The story is told in third person, following the gang mentality by not focusing on a particular point of view. The gang’s new leader is Trevor, whom they call “T.” T.’s father used to be an architect but is now a clerk. T. is able to blend into the group, despite his social class and name, which he announced as a “statement of fact, not as it would have been with the others a statement of shame or defiance” (7). The landscape of Wormsley Common in 1950s London is punctuated by the aftereffects of the Blitz. The gang meet in a carpark, next to a house that survived the Blitz when all those around it were destroyed. Mr. Thomas, or “Old Misery,” owns


the house, which has fallen badly into decay. T. knows that Christopher Wren designed the house. None of the other children know who Wren is, displaying the class division between T. and the other members. While Old Misery is away for the August bank holiday, T. proposes that the gang destroy the house, and the leadership changes hands. Blackie, the former leader, goes along with the plan only to gain fame for the gang. The children systematically destroy the house: cutting wires, smashing the bath, collapsing the self-supported spiral staircase. T. finds Old Misery’s savings in the mattress and insists on burning the notes one by one. The description of the ash raises images of religious services, as does the unleashing of a flood on the destroyed house. When Blackie asks if T. hates the old man, T. replies, “Of course I don’t hate him. . . . There’d be no fun if I hated him” (16). Old Misery returns early the next day, and T. falters in his leadership. He is called “Trevor,” which could crack his authority completely. Blackie supports him, and the gang traps Old Misery in the outdoor lavatory. They toss him food and blanket as a sign that they do not want to hurt him, but they refuse to release him. The gang attaches a rope from a strut supporting the house to a lorry, so the entire house collapses when the lorry driver pulls away in the morning. The story ends as Thomas sobs over the demise of his house while the lorry driver laughs, “There’s nothing personal, but you got to admit it’s funny” (23). The house functions as a symbol of old Europe, and the gang members react against the “misery” the previous generations caused them. The decay of the house represents the crumbling social structures of postwar Britain. While Trevor’s name sets him apart from the other children, his use of the word “beautiful” to describe the house most strikingly demonstrates how different he is from them. His rage at the house can be seen as a backlash against his own class. As his father created houses, T. destroys them. Greene comments, “Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators— and destruction after all is a form of creation” (15).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Greene, Graham. Twenty-one Stories. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1981.

Kelly, Richard. Graham Green: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1992. Miller, R. H. Understanding Graham Greene. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990. Watts, Cedric. A Preface to Greene. London; New York: Longman, 1997. Jennifer Young


The history of detective fiction necessarily overlaps with that of other, related fields such as sensation, adventure, thriller, and spy fiction, and, to an extent, its development is dependent on those genres and consequently resistant to definition. Popular interest in crime had always been evident in the prolific production of the broadsheets, ballads, and anecdotal accounts of criminals’ last words that would accompany public trials and executions, but these largely celebrated the heroism of the criminal in his defiance of monarchical authority. With the birth of the police force and institutionalization of the prison system from the early 19th century, the focus of that interest shifted to the protection of society against such criminals and, particularly, to the detective figure in whom that hope of security resided. The detective story, then, was concerned with the unmasking of a criminal—often a murderer—and bringing him to justice, thus restoring order to society, and the activities of the detective in this pursuit were central to the emerging genre. CHARLES DICKENS made an early contribution with his characterization of Inspector Bucket in Bleak House (1852–53), WILKIE COLLINS created Sergeant Cuff in the first full-length detective novel, The Moonstone (1868), and ELLEN WOOD had a boy detective in JOHNNY LUDLOW. All three authors invoke the authority of the professional police force, but as the genre developed it came to privilege the amateur or private detective. Edgar Allan Poe had already produced what are widely agreed to be the first detective stories, generating the eccentric figure of the Chevalier Auguste Dupin, whose powers of observation and deduction provided the blueprint from which ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE created Sherlock Holmes. Between Poe’s short stories of the 1840s and the creation of Holmes in the 1880s,


writers experimented with variations on crime, mystery, and adventure novels, but Doyle in particular took up and renewed interest in the short story form. The circulation of the STRAND MAGAZINE dropped dramatically when Doyle “killed off” Sherlock Holmes in the story “The Final Problem,” but the public appetite for more adventures about the popular fictional detective was only whetted by the publication of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1902, a novel set in the years before Holmes’s death. Doyle reluctantly resurrected the sleuth and his chronicler, Dr. Watson, in a collection of 13 stories, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, in 1905. These much-imitated stories give a good sense of how the detective story might be said to operate at the beginning of the 20th century. A good example is the story “The ADVENTURE OF CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON.” Milverton is described by Holmes as the “worst man in London . . . the king of all the blackmailers,” and it is this form of criminal activity that incurs the greatest revulsion in Holmes and Watson, for the victims are all well-born women. Holmes’s usual contempt for the aristocracy is displaced by his concern for the social vulnerability of women, whose indiscretions place their reputations in jeopardy. Yet in avoiding scandal, telling the truth becomes problematic, and Holmes himself has difficulty in ascertaining where the truth lies. His client, Lady Eva, has told him that her letters in Milverton’s possession are merely “imprudent,” but Milverton asserts that they are, rather, “very sprightly.” The nature of the victim’s innocence thus comes into question. It also emerges that the law not only is impotent but actually works in favor of the blackmailer. Watson suggests that, in law, Milverton could be apprehended, to which Holmes responds, “Technically, no doubt, but practically not.” Armed with a gun, Milverton claims that “the law will support me” should he use it to defend himself from Holmes. Although Holmes has never had qualms about stretching the limits of the law or evading its strictures, he is forced to resort to committing a “morally justifiable” felony to try to retrieve the letters through burglary. Watson’s more delicate conscience submits to the “sporting interest” of the crime, by dwelling on the chivalric nature of the motivation behind it. Eventually, justice does not lie in

Holmes’s hands but in those of a female victim from the highest ranks of society with whom Holmes has had no business. The victim becomes a criminal avenger, shooting Milverton. That “there are certain crimes which the law cannot touch, and which therefore, to some extent, justify private revenge” is the moral of the story, but where that is the case, the detective’s function is compromised and social conventions are distorted. In another Holmes story, “A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA” (1891), Doyle develops many of these themes. Watson has married and Holmes now lives alone, and this marginalized lifestyle inheres in his attitude to the legal justice system as it is made clear that he, with Watson’s willing cooperation, is ready to break the law “in a good cause.” Holmes astounds yet again with his demonstrations of scientific deduction, explaining to Watson, “You see, but you do not observe.” His mastery of disguise takes a prominent role in the story. First as a disreputable groom, then as an absent-minded clergyman, Holmes literally impersonates the characters—as Watson says, “his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part.” This acting skill is a transgressive characteristic that raises questions about the stability of Holmes’s identity while enabling the detective to infiltrate every level of society in that “good cause.” The plot of “A Scandal in Bohemia” is a simple one. A scandal could ensue if the adventuress Irene Adler sends a compromising photograph of herself with the king of Bohemia to the princess to whom he is now engaged. There appears to be no pecuniary motive for her blackmail but rather the hatred of a woman scorned by her lover. For this reason, her obduracy in holding to her threat cannot be broken by ordinary means, and the King employs Holmes to retrieve the photograph in any way he can. The interest of the tale revolves around the cat-and-mouse game of disguises Holmes plays in order to trick the singer into revealing the whereabouts of the photograph, only to find himself outwitted by her expertise and cunning. The thematic construction centers around Victorian concerns with gender and class, utilizing polarities to confirm preconceptions that are then undermined in unexpected fashion, thus establishing the detective story as a site of social and cultural debate. In England,


the appearance of the NEW WOMAN—the modern, independent woman who challenged the status quo through her incursions into the masculine domain— was causing much public consternation. It was felt that the New Woman sacrificed her essential femininity in pursuing her independence. However, Adler is dissociated from contemporary English girls, in that she is American by birth and has followed an operatic career on the Continent, both details suggesting a far greater freedom from convention and potential for transgression than any English girl could realize. Her unfeminine abilities allow her to disguise herself as “a slim youth,” while her description as having “the face of the most beautiful of women, and the mind of the most resolute of men” is regarded as an unseemly combination. Despite these traits, we learn that she was “cruelly wronged” by the king. Although Adler lives at the edge of acceptable social mores, she nevertheless retains her essential femininity through her vulnerability to the masculine hierarchy. Holmes’s admiration for “the woman” humanizes the “most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen,” making him a more accessible character, and that admiration is stirred by Adler’s resoluteness. Her moral integrity in refusing to give in to the king’s demands is sharply contrasted with the king’s own selfish class-consciousness, which values position over ethics. The forms of society are questioned from the start when middle-class Watson describes the foreign sovereign’s attire as “akin to bad taste.” Holmes’s cool, admonitory rejoinder to the king that Adler “seems, indeed, to be on a very different level to Your Majesty” and his request for her photograph over any financial reward clearly suggest that the lower-class Bohemian soul is more discerning of moral principle than the Bohemian king. Despite the vividness of Doyle’s representation of Holmes, it is possible to argue that the structure and limits of the short story form encouraged detective fiction writers to focus on the puzzle element of the plot. Characterization and setting were necessarily reduced to a minimum, and interest in the detective and his methods took precedence over questions of social realism. Serial publication also ensured the continued consumption of this form and, in the wake of the spectacular suc-

cess of Holmes and Watson, the detective short story was taken up by many writers. G. K. CHESTERTON developed the Father Brown stories, which were nearly as successful as Doyle’s, while writers such as ARTHUR MORRISON, L. T. MEADE, Ernest Bramah, and R. Austin Freeman all produced their own versions of the eccentric detective. Nor were all detectives male; Catherine Pirkis’s “lady detective,” Loveday Brooke (1893), and Baroness Orczy’s Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (1910) were rare, but not unpopular, female sleuths in what was becoming a formulaic tradition. That the genre was quickly established was clear from the numbers of parodies, pastiches, and imitators that proliferated after Doyle. The idea of fair play between author and reader came to be expected, and authors generally adhered to “rules” by which intelligent readers could be expected to solve the mystery for themselves, although this also led to debates over the literary value of these throwaway puzzles. E. C. Bentley’s Trent’s Last Case (1913) reworked and expanded the short story into a full-length novel that utilized more psychological methods in solving the mystery and directed authors toward the broader possibilities of the novel form of detective fiction. In the aftermath of WORLD WAR I, detective stories turned to a nostalgic revisioning of English life and to testing the boundaries of fair play. AGATHA CHRISTIE, probably the best-known author to emerge in the golden age of British detective fiction, the interwar years, challenged the rules with her 1926 novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Other authors experimented with specialisms such as lockedroom mysteries or so-called impossible crimes, but all tended to hark back to prewar social certainties and drew on more extensive characterization, albeit within a restricted social field. Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, Michael Innes, and John Dickson Carr, all of whose detectives owe their construction to variations on eccentric, amateur, or gentlemanly backgrounds, were among some of the most popular authors of this period. Although the detective fiction of this golden age tended to run to novel-length productions, readers were also avid for the many collections and anthologies of short stories published at the time, in which celebrated detectives practised their extraordinary skills in classic, abbreviated style.


At the same time in America, pulp magazine stories by writers such as Dashiell Hammett and, later, Raymond Chandler featured tough, lone private eyes and created a subgenre known as hardboiled detective fiction, which offered a much more realistic response to interwar social conditions and often presented the detective in some form of conflict with law and order. After WORLD WAR II, British authors followed suit and abandoned golden age nostalgia, incorporating more realistic elements and dealing with more plausible criminal acts in line with the prevailing social condition. Detectives became less extraordinary and were less likely to be gentlemanly amateurs but rather policemen whose character flaws and imperfect private lives were also a product of that society. Authors such as P. D. James, Julian Symons, Ruth Rendell, and Colin Dexter developed the complexity of their detective figures through serial publication, while also placing more emphasis on the psychological motivation and circumstantial conditions that underpin the crimes. Apart from her policeman Adam Dalgliesh, James also created a female professional detective, Cordelia Gray, in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1974), giving a contemporary response to concerns about the feminist movement. The realistic trend continued, although often utilizing an unusual or self-contained setting, as in Dick Francis’s world of horse racing, Ellis Peters’s medieval monastery, or W. J. Burley’s Cornwall. Other subgeneric developments include the police procedural novel, which concentrates on police teamwork and its methodologies. More recently, the forensic specialist who can pin down criminal identity through scientific evidence and psychological profiling has become the new detective hero, against whom the anonymous urban serial killer has become the ultimate opponent.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chandler, Raymond. The Simple Art of Murder. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950. Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. London: Newnes, 1892. Haycraft, Howard. The Art of the Mystery Story: A Collection of Critical Essays. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1983. Ousby, Ian. Bloodhounds of Heaven: The Detective in English Fiction from Godwin to Doyle. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976.

Priestman, Martin. Crime Fiction from Poe to the Present. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1998. Symons, Julian. Bloody Murder: From the Detective Story to the Crime Novel. London: Penguin, 1985. Therie Hendry-Seabrook

“DEVASTATING BOYS, THE” ELIZABETH TAYLOR (1966) Published in McCall’s magazine in May 1966, ELIZABETH TAYLOR’s “The Devastating Boys” is a witty, poignant depiction of the change that occurs in the marriage of Harold, a self-involved Oxford archeology professor, and his wife Laura, when two black children from London come to stay with them one summer. Harold is a dominating husband who has provided a model for an overbearing character in their neighbor Helena Western’s novel; Harold himself does not recognize himself in the character simply because the fictional man is a barrister: “[T]hat character, with his vaguely left-wing opinions and opinionated turns of phrase, his quelling manner to his wife . . . could have nothing to do with him, since he had never taken silk. Everyone else had recognized and known, and Laura, among them, knew they had.” While Harold’s ego does not allow him to imagine past his professorial identity, his self-deprecating wife is aware of others’ perceptions of their marriage. The story’s first sentence portrays Harold’s unreasonable dominion over his wife with admirable economy, while making his extemporizing about his own foibles comical: “Laura was always too early; and this was as bad as being late, her husband, who was always late himself, told her.” It has been Harold’s idea that they take in two poor urban children: “[H]e read of a scheme to give London children a summer holiday in the country. . . . ‘Some of the children will be coloured’ caught his eye. . . . He had made a long speech to Laura about children being the great equalizers, and that we should learn from them, that to insinuate the stale prejudices of their elders into their fresh, fair minds was such a sin that he could not think of a worse one.” Harold is a theorist, an intellectual who has liberal ideas about life, which he has not bothered to live very intimately or observe very closely. Laura has been in the trenches; with their own children, “any little bothers Laura had hidden from him.”


Laura is described as “a woman who had never had any high opinions of herself.” She has loved being a mother, but her children are now grown up and gone: “Her children had been her life, and her grandchildren one day would be; but here was an empty space. Life had fallen away from her.” Laura is a very private person, not a woman who enjoys socializing with the other professors’ wives. Taylor depicts Laura’s quandary as that of an intelligent, reclusive woman without any work that feels important to her at present. Laura is a woman who finds a worthwhile identity through mothering but who lives in an era that does not offer her the possibility of using her talent for nurturing in a job as well. Yet though Laura does not think she is good with other people’s children, she finds she is a success with the boys from London. The story, like so much of Taylor’s fiction, has a feminist impulse both in its championing of the beleaguered Laura, taught that she is insignificant in comparison to her important husband, and in the recognition that Laura’s maternal qualities of patience, love, and humor are not so common. The story opens with Laura waiting at the train station on a beautiful July morning for Septimus Smith and Benny Reece, the poor “coloured” children who are coming from London to the country. She herself is the mother of daughters, the “biddable children,” and until the last minute Laura has imagined that she will be sent little girls: “Six-year-old boys, and she had pictured perhaps eight- or ten-year-old girls, whom she could teach to sew and make cakes for tea, and press wild-flowers as she had taught Imogen and Lalage to do.” The flamboyant half-caste Benny (“Laura hoped that this would count in Harold’s eyes”) and the self-dramatizing West Indian Sep are a far cry from Laura’s domestic, literary-named daughters. The boys revel in the domestic appurtenances familiar to the middle classes: brushing their teeth and taking baths, talking on the telephone. They are unintimidated by Laura, her big house, Harold, or other upper-class people like the writer Helena, whom they gleefully imitate. Soon Laura too is imitating Helena: “Aren’t they simply devastating boys?” Laura feels emboldened by the boys to be witty: She also plays cricket with Sep and Benny and feels proud of their politeness at Helena’s, “just as

if they were her own children.” When Laura mentions to Harold that Sep might be a great athlete, he replies that Sep has rickets: “One of her children with rickets, she had thought, stricken.” Meanwhile, Harold has become more appreciative of Laura, has noticed when she is tired, and has himself played with the boys, told them stories, taken them—albeit reluctantly—to church. Laura recognizes that the boys’ vacation has been a success for her, and for Harold. Harold the archaeology professor, who early in the visit is “agonized” by Sep’s breaking of one of his sherds, is now focusing more on the living than the relics of the dead. By the story’s close, Harold has come to a new awareness of Laura’s gifts. On the day the boys leave to go back to London, Harold comes home early, imitates Benny’s and Sep’s slang (“Shall we make tracks?”), and takes his wife to an intimate lunch in the country. Harold, “who could not believe that he had any particular idiosyncrasies to be copied,” at last sees that the drama of life is based on the recognition of individuality. Harold learns from the authenticity and exuberance of the boys to appreciate not only them but himself and his loving wife as well: “ ‘Don’t fret,’ he said. ‘I think we’ve got them for life now.’ ”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Taylor. The Devastating Boys. London: Chatto and Windus, 1972. Deborah Deneholze Morse

“DIARY OF ANNE RODWAY, THE” WILKIE COLLINS (1856) First published in CHARLES DICKENS’s magazine Household Words (July 19 and 26, 1856), the story was included in WILKIE COLLINS’s short story collection The Queen of Hearts (1859) as “Brother Owen’s Story of Anne Rodway.” The narrative is composed of a series of excerpts from the diary of Anne Rodway, a “plain needlewoman.” In the opening series of entries, Anne recounts her concern over her troubled friend and fellow lodger Mary Mallinson. One evening, Anne is given a dreadful fright when she finds Mary sleeping heavily, her room in total disarray. She discovers a bottle of laudanum and jumps to the conclusion that Mary has given in to her despair and has attempted to end her life. Anne


manages to awaken Mary, who reassures her that she is accustomed to taking a few drops of laudanum each night to help her sleep. Mary admits, however, that given her overwhelming debts, her ineptitude for needlework, and her estrangement from her family, her life is hardly worth living. Anne is haunted by Mary’s parting words: “I began my life wretchedly, and wretchedly I am sentenced to end it.” A number of days are marked in Anne’s diary, but there are no corresponding entries. Finally, Anne returns to her narrative with news of a “dreadful calamity”—one evening, not long after the laudanum incident, two policemen show up at the lodging house carrying the almost lifeless body of Mary. They found her lying in the street having suffered a blow to the temple. The doctor who is called in concludes that Mary is the victim of a freak accident: She likely suffered a fainting fit, fell down on the street, and hit her head on the “kerb-stone.” While Anne stays up that evening keeping watch over the unconscious body of her friend, she discovers in one of Mary’s tightly clenched hands what appears to be a torn piece of a man’s necktie. Anne immediately concludes that Mary has been the victim of foul play, but when the doctor returns the next morning to check on Mary, he dismisses the torn cloth as significant evidence that a crime has been committed. Shortly thereafter, Mary dies. Some time passes, and then, by complete chance, Anne discovers the missing section of the tie in a rag and bottle shop. With this vital clue, she vows to track down the murderer of her friend: “[A] kind of fever got possession of [her]—a vehement yearning to go on from this first discovery and find out more, no matter what the risk might be.” The seamstress-turned-detective tracks down the owner of the tie, a “crooked-back dwarf.” Through a series of bribes, the dwarf leads her to the murderer, a drunk by the name of Noah Truscott, who coincidentally was also the wicked ruin of Mary’s father. “The Diary of Anne Rodway” is an early example of Collins’s experiments with narrative form and perspective. Thematically, the story is provocative not simply because it features the first fictional female detective but because that amateur detective is an uneducated, working-class needlewoman who exposes the incom-

petence of male authority as represented by the doctor and the police. Anne Rodway sets a pattern for the strong, independent heroines that appear throughout Collins’s fiction: women who often dominate and control the action while the men passively stand by. Indeed, through her ingenuity and perseverance, Anne cracks the case single-handedly, but it is her absent fiancé, Robert, who ultimately reaps the rewards of her efforts. Mary’s long-lost brother reappears on the scene and expresses his gratitude by securing a job for Robert so that he can marry Anne. This so-called happy resolution of narrative events invites the reader to consider the nature of Anne’s success—whether Anne’s containment within the domestic sphere is reward or punishment for her transgressive acts. The story also features the dream as a cryptic and awful foreboding, blurring the boundaries between the natural and supernatural and reflecting Collins’s interest in contemporary dream theory. Collins had begun to use the dream as a narrative device in his novel Basil (1852), and he would continue to explore in more sophisticated ways the dream as psychic transmission in novels such as The Woman in White (1860) and Armadale (1866). Finally, the appearance of the “crooked-back dwarf,” though his role in the narrative is minimal, introduces another key feature of Collins’s fiction: the “freak.” Collins does not, however, showcase characters with various physical and psychological abnormalities simply for comic effect; rather, his fictional grotesques are figures whose motivations in the narrative are always ambiguous and discomfiting to characters and readers alike.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Collins, Wilkie. Complete Short Fiction. London: Constable, 1998. Maria Bachman

DICKENS, CHARLES (1812–1870)

Born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, Charles Dickens was to become the most successful and influential writer of the Victorian period. In his lifetime he produced 14½ novels (The Mystery of Edwin Drood was left unfinished at his death), countless sketches, short stories, dramas, articles, novellas, and even travel writing. He ran his own magazines and toured Britain and


America performing spectacular readings from his own works. Dickens’s almost pathological industriousness led to an early death at age 58. Dickens had a difficult early life. His parents, John and Elizabeth, had an unstable existence, Dickens’s father always living beyond his means (he was later immortalized in the character of David Copperfield’s Mr. Micawber). The Dickens family was never really able to settle and moved a great deal around the south of England. Their situation changed drastically from month to month. John Dickens’s profligacy and fiscal mismanagement culminated in his being sent to Marshalsea debtor’s prison, where he was joined by his wife; the young Charles was taken out of school at age 12 and sent to work in a blacking factory for six shillings a week. Although the young Dickens was at the factory for only a matter of months, he had no way of knowing at the time that he would not be stuck there forever. Factory life was so terrifying for the young boy that it proved to be a formative experience for the man. He never spoke about Warren’s Blacking Factory to his family for the rest of his life. His early fiction, however, repeatedly returned to the dejected boy’s early life. All of his work from Oliver Twist (1837) to Little Dorrit (1857) draws, in different ways, from these experiences. Dickens’s pathology of ceaseless work was surely driven by the need to stay out of the debtor’s prison and to stay out of the factory. He began his adult employment in 1828 as a parliamentary reporter. His first literary work, “Mr. Minns and His Cousin,” appeared on December 1, 1833, and later was published in SKETCHES BY BOZ (1836–37). In 1836 Dickens was approached by two young publishers, Edward Chapman and William Hall, to write what was to become The Pickwick Papers; this was also the beginning of a 23-year relationship with a young illustrator, Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”). The young publishers earned £14,000 from Pickwick, and Dickens had begun his career as a novelist. His reputation was solidified and established by the works that followed: Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), Barnaby Rudge (1841), Martin Chuzzlewit (1843), Dombey and Son (1848), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1861), Our

Mutual Friend (1865), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870). Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the first of their 10 children was born in 1837. Although they remained married, Dickens always seemed to have a chaotic love life. The death of his sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, in May 1837 was a spectacular disturbance to him. He suspended the monthly numbers of The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist and kept her clothing for years afterward. His first love, Maria Beadnell (whom he courted from 1830 to 1833) made a brief return to his life some 10 years later. After their disappointing meeting he used her for the comically overemotional Flora Finching in Little Dorrit. He also had a long-lasting affair with an actress, Ellen Ternan, whom he met in August 1857. Dickens left her £1,000 in his will. She married in 1876, and there is no evidence to suggest that she ever mentioned her affair with Dickens to any of her family. Dickens’s novels are widely available and have been much studied. However, he also made considerable contributions to the British short story, most notably, Sketches by Boz and his Christmas books. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1843, full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, A Ghost Story of Christmas) is by far the best-known Christmas story in the English language. It is probably the most-adapted story of the 20th century. Within two months of its publication there were eight stage versions, and film versions have steadily appeared since 1935. Dickens achieves an unusual mixture of economic realism and the fairy tale in this story; the resulting specific historicity and atemporality have contributed to the story’s longevity. The core economic message of the Carol is to beware of capitalism. The Carol, like The Chimes (1844), The Haunted Man (1848), and the other Christmas books, is also interested in the humanizing affects of memory. In all cases the raw edges of character derive from a kind of amnesia; it is a trope that is peculiar to Dickens’ Christmas fiction. Much of Dickens’s short fiction was tied up with his involvement in various magazines. He edited three magazines—Bentley’s Miscellany (1837–39), Household Words (1850–59), and All the Year Round (1859–70)— all of which featured his own short stories (e.g., “HUNTED DOWN” [1859]), as well as works by WILKIE COLLINS, ELIZABETH GASKELL, and Edward Bulwer


Lytton. His short fiction principally focuses on themes of imprisonment, debt, crime, reform, new money, impoverishment, and class mobility (e.g., “The POOR RELATION’S STORY,” “The Tuggses at Ramsgate”), suggesting that Dickens’s literary success was both the cause and beneficiary of his chaotic and tumultuous personal life. For the Dickens canon, it was a small price to pay.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carey, John. The Violent Effigy: A Study in Dickens’ Imagination. London: Faber, 1973. Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. London: Chapman and Hall, 1843. ———. The Cricket on the Hearth. London: Chapman and Hall, 1845. ———. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. London: Chapman and Hall, 1836–37. ———. Sketches by Boz. London: Macrone, 1836–37. Dyson, A. E. The Inimitable Dickens. London: Macmillan, 1970. Flint, Kate. Dickens. Brighton, England: Harvester, 1986. Glancy, Ruth. Dickens’ Christmas Books, Christmas Sketches and Other Short Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1985. Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography. London: Hodder, 1988. Vybarr Cregan-Reid

DIXON, ELLA HEPWORTH (C. 1855– 1932) Ella Hepworth Dixon was the seventh of eight children of Marian (Machon) and William Hepworth Dixon. Her family deftly managed to be both artistic and respectable. Dixon’s mother held fashionable salons, informal gatherings where conversation is the focus, which attracted an ever-changing mix of literary and visual artists. Her father was well known as the editor of the Athenaeum, a leading periodical of the day, and made a point of encouraging women writers by treating them as professionals. Dixon’s parents gave her an unusual artistic education for a Victorian girl of the upper middle class. She traveled often to the continent, studying language, philosophy, and piano in Heidelberg and, even more unconventionally, painting in two artists’ studios in Paris. Though Dixon detested the necessity of doing so, she used her recently deceased father’s name and his connections in London publishing to launch her career

as a journalist and short story writer; she understood that men held the power in the business world and that becoming a successful professional writer was, at best, very difficult for women. Her work appeared in variety of periodicals throughout her career, including the YELLOW BOOK, the Times (London), the Illustrated London News, the Manchester Guardian, and the Westminster Gazette. She was also a regular contributor of both short stories and articles to Woman’s World under OSCAR WILDE’s editorship, and she edited the Englishwoman from 1895 to 1896. Dixon used her short stories (collected in One Doubtful Hour, 1904) to explore how women were economically and spiritually exploited by men in Victorian culture. With her constant attention to the reality of Victorian women’s lived experience, Dixon was known then and now as a NEW WOMAN writer (see also ELLA D’ARCY, GEORGE EGERTON, and VERNON LEE). Though very much part of decadent literary circles (see DECADENCE), Dixon was also keenly critical of how male artists’ aesthetic appreciation of women allowed them to fix women as art objects without any sort of independent agency. Dixon’s first long work, My Flirtations, was published under the humorous pseudonym Margaret Wynman in 1892. The series of connected short stories depict Margaret’s flirtations with different types of men, who are obvious parodies of well-known fin de siécle figures like Oscar Wilde and Richard Le Gallienne. In the end, however, Margaret agrees to a loveless marriage because her husband will rescue her from a debt incurred in ignorance. Though also a journalist and short story writer, Ella Hepworth Dixon is best known for her Story of a Modern Woman (1894), a short bildungsroman chronicling the life of Mary Erle from idealistic childhood to disillusioned adulthood. Clearly drawn from Dixon’s own life experiences, the novel begins with Mary trying to make her way in the London publishing world after the death of her father. In this novel, as well as her other stories and nonfiction work, Dixon is particularly concerned with the lives of “odd women,” upper-class women who had few prospects for marriage (due to the lack of marriageable men resulting from casualties sustained by England during the Napoleonic wars) and had few professions open to them for economic sur-


vival. Toward the end of the 19th century, these women were called New Women for their departure from conventional Victorian feminine behavior and their political activism around a variety of issues, including women’s role in marriage, women’s legal status, and education for women. Significantly, in the novel, Dixon also reveals something of the manner in which female short story writers might establish a career for themselves in the male-dominated world of 1890s London publishing. In the character of Mr. Bosanquet-Barry and his AESTHETIC affectations, Dixon spoofs Oscar Wilde, her own editor at Woman’s World, and criticizes the decadents for viewing women as aesthetic objects rather than as thinking individuals and the capitalists for concerning themselves only with what will sell. She also criticizes the way he and other bohemian male artists treat women through the nameless editor of The Fan, who only gives Mary any attention once he realizes that she is an upper-class lady. The critical moment in Mary’s career comes after she has had several pieces published and goes to her editor with an idea for a novel about the life of the modern woman. Her editor refuses to publish her novel on the grounds that the newly literate lower classes will not read it, and he tells her that she must stick to conventional marriage plots with happy endings. Mary’s own life has no such happy ending, and the novel ends with her disappearing back into the London suburbs after visiting her father’s grave. The novel is striking for the way it merges French-influenced naturalism and social Darwinism to explore the social structures that exploit women in Victorian society and how all women must ultimately bow in some way to these systemic pressures.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ardis, Ann L. New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990. Dixon, Ella Hepworth. My Flirtations. London: Chatto & Windus, 1892; Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1893. ———. One Doubtful Hour and Other Side-lights on the Feminine Temperament. London: Richards, 1904. ———. The Story of a Modern Woman. London: Heinemann, 1894; New York: Cassell, 1894.

Stetz, Margaret Diane. “Ella Hepworth Dixon.” In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 197: Late-Victorian and Edwardian British Novelists, Second Series, edited by George M. Johnson, 99–109. Detroit: Gale Research, 1999. ———. “Turning Points: Ella Hepworth Dixon,” Turn-ofthe-Century Women 2 (Winter 1984): 2–11. Lisa Hager

“DOLL’S HOUSE, THE” KATHERINE MANS(1923) Published in The Dove’s Nest, KATHERMANSFIELD’s last collection of short stories, “The Doll’s House” belongs with “Prelude” (1920) and “At the Bay” (1922) among the Burnell stories, a trilogy based on the re-creation of a New Zealand childhood that threads family life with social satire while exploring issues of identity and belonging. The story, divided into three sections, uses the central metaphor of the doll’s house, which also provides the linear and dramatic framework of the narrative. It begins with the arrival of a completely furnished doll’s house sent to the Burnell children by “dear old Mrs. Hay,” a friend of the family. When Pat, a servant, opens the house, Isabel, Kezia, and Lottie cannot believe their eyes: “It was too marvellous; it was too much for them.” But while her sisters admire this imitation of gaudy bourgeois comfort, Kezia, Mansfield’s recurring figure of the open-minded girl, is drawn by the perfection of an “exquisite little amber lamp” that looks “real” to her. In the second and third sections of the story, the doll’s house becomes a source of social and psychological conflict as it is turned into an instrument of power by Isabel, the eldest Burnell sister, and the other schoolchildren invited to share her euphoric pride. Cruelly excluding the Kelvey girls from their companionship and from the pleasure of seeing the doll’s house because they are the daughters “of a washerwoman and a gaolbird,” Isabel and her friends reproduce their parents’ prejudiced views and social sense of self-gratification without questioning them. The narrative works up to an epiphanic climax when Kezia, “the potentially free subject,” to use Kate Fullbrook’s terms (113), breaks with social and family conventions by opening “the big white gates” of her home and her heart to allow Lil and Else Kelvey a hurried glimpse at the doll’s



house. Over a short moment of symbolical intensity, the three children are drawn together in a shared experience of vision and beauty: “[Else] put out a finger and stroked her sister’s quill; she smiled her rare smile. ‘I seen the little lamp,’ she said.” As are most of Katherine Mansfield’s stories, “The Doll’s House” is poised dialectically between the external world of social reality and an internalized world of subjective perceptions. Its MODERNISM lies in its refusal to rely on narratorial intrusions (the text is full of ironic insights but is never judgmental) and in its use of point of view and indirect free form to convey inner feelings, of symbol and metaphor as structural elements, and of epiphany as the ephemeral moment when the focal character and the reader might gain access to truths hidden to ordinary perceptions: Not only do Kezia and the Kelvey sisters know that the doll’s house is a social symbol of status and discrimination, they also see in its little lamp the metaphorical values of shared knowledge and emotion, while the whole story suggests that artistic creation may be a redeeming act of inclusion and fulfillment. “The Doll’s House” is also typically Mansfieldian in the way the narration oscillates between ironic distance and emotional empathy, using “impersonation” as a form of speech representation that captures the subtle nuances of a character’s tone of voice and makes for immediacy but also ambiguity and ironic contrasts. However, the epiphanic accomplishment characterizing this story makes it different from most of the other short fiction by Mansfield: Far from being an experience of self-deception or self-betrayal, the expected revelation is here a “blazing” if evanescent moment of discovery and happiness. Fullbrook, Kate. Katherine Mansfield. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Kobler, J. F. Katherine Mansfield: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Mansfield, Katherine. The Dove’s Nest and Other Stories. London: Constable, 1923.

prose contributions to significant periodicals of the period, including the YELLOW BOOK, and published Dilemmas; Stories and Studies in Sentiment in 1895. Dowson spent his childhood traveling the Continent with his consumptive parents as they sought various treatments. His parents’ ill health, bankruptcy, and eventual suicide were the recurring disturbances in Dowson’s life that influenced his decision to leave Oxford after studying classics there for only a few terms. Dowson was a member of the Rhymers’ Club and friend of OSCAR WILDE and Aubrey Beardsley. Best known for falling in love with the young daughter of a restaurant owner who married a waiter, Dowson converted to Catholicism before dying of tuberculosis. Dowson’s work reflects his personal and decadent preoccupations. Dowson’s attraction to the innocence and purity of adolescent girls informs “Apple Blossom in Brittany,” as Benedict Campion struggles with the decision to marry Marie-Ursule or support her desire to join a convent. Campion ultimately argues that to lose her to the convent was “the only way in which he could keep her always” (327) after he realizes that her idealized appeal would be sullied by marriage. “The Dying of Francis Donne” deals with a doctor’s sudden realization that he is going to die. The story vividly re-creates the contemplation and anticipation of death and creates an atmosphere of ennui as Donne deteriorates until an equally sudden understanding makes sense of his distorted life at the moment of death. Dowson’s interest with death, drugs, and altered states runs throughout his work and is well represented in a number of very short stories that, combined with several poems, became Decorations in 1899. In the supremely decadent “Absinthia Taetra,” various poetic features are incorporated in the narrative to reproduce the experience and futility of drinking mind-altering absinthe. Dowson’s characteristically abrupt but conclusive manner of ending his stories is apparent in “The Visit,” as the narrator’s supposedly welcome encounter with Death leaves the reader pondering just how eager the narrator was to see Death.

Anne Besnault-Levita


DOWSON, ERNEST (1867–1900)

Ernest Dowson. Dilemmas; Stories and Studies in Sentiment. London: John Lane, 1895. ———. Decorations. London: John Lane, 1899.


Primarily known as a decadent poet of the late 19th century (see DECADENCE), Ernest Dowson also made several

Tony Garland


DOYLE, ARTHUR CONAN (1859–1930) Born in Edinburgh in 1859, the second of 10 children, Arthur Conan Doyle was brought up in an atmosphere of financial and emotional strain. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, came from an artistic, Catholic family, being the son of John Doyle, a noted caricaturist whose brother Richard—known as “Dicky”—was famous for his work on Punch. Charles pursued his own artistic talents as an architect in the Edinburgh Office of Works and struggled to supplement his salary with artwork and illustrations, but he gradually succumbed to a combination of alcoholism and epilepsy and was eventually institutionalized in an asylum, where he died in 1893. Doyle’s mother, Mary, also a Catholic, ran a boardinghouse to bring in muchneeded income and was able to pay for her son’s education at a Jesuit public school. When Doyle decided to take up a medical career, he had to support himself through his degree at Edinburgh University, taking jobs as a doctor’s assistant to cover his expenses, but in his spare time he was already writing—and publishing anonymously—short adventure stories (e.g., “The CAPTAIN OF THE POLE STAR” [1883]). Doyle qualified as a doctor in 1881, eventually setting up a successful practice in the English town of Southsea and going on to specialize in ophthalmology, but intermittent periods of quiet allowed him to return to writing and in 1887 he published A STUDY IN SCARLET, the first book to feature Sherlock Holmes, in the Beeton Christmas Annual of 1887; it came out in book form the following year with illustrations by his father. The tale was advertized as a “story of thrilling interest.” Although Doyle had no intentions at this stage of working further on his detective creation, A Study in Scarlet nevertheless furnished most of the basic ingredients for Holmes’s later adventures while also providing inspiration for future authors of detective fiction. The first part of the story, taken from “the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.,” is of particular interest for the detailed introduction to Holmes. Watson is the only source of information here, as he will be in subsequent stories, and the reader shares his initial uncertainties about and his developing admiration for the enigmatic Holmes. These uncertainties arise from the fact that he cannot identify who Holmes is or

what he does; Holmes cannot be fitted into any conventional social construction. Watson provides what will become the archetypal portrait of the sleuth: He is tall, thin, and hawklike; his interests, as Watson lists them, lean to the sciences; while his personality is by turns indolent and energetic. He is an isolated individual—the visitors whom Watson takes at first for friends are merely clients—and yet his personality reveals a measure of sensitivity. When Watson congratulates him on bringing “detection as near an exact science as it ever will be,” Holmes “flushe[s] up with pleasure,” but he is also ambitious, declaring: “I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous.” The relative haplessness of the Scotland Yard detectives, Gregson and Lestrade, is made clear from the start; Holmes characterizes them as “conventional— shockingly so.” Unconventional himself, Holmes prefers to rely on the street Arabs, who can “go everywhere and hear everything.” The fast-moving narrative of this section follows “the scarlet thread of murder” in the deaths of two Americans, Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson. The police investigation flounders for lack of interpretable clues, but through Holmes’s intervention and independent lines of enquiry, the murderer is swiftly apprehended. Doyle’s literary ambitions, however, revolved around what he would term “better things,” and he constantly aspired to acclaim for what he regarded as his more serious work. The success of his historical novel Micah Clarke (1889) led to the offer of a commission from the American Lippincott’s Magazine, for which Doyle agreed to contribute a second novel about Holmes, The Sign of Four (1890). At the same time, however, another of his historical novels—The White Company—was being serialized in the Cornhill Magazine. Doyle’s medical practice was losing ground, and as he noted in his autobiography, it now seemed the opportune moment to further his “literary prospects.” The appearance of the new STRAND MAGAZINE in 1891 offered Doyle the chance to capitalize on the speedy financial return that could be gained from short story publication, and the 12 ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES duly appeared over the following year. The magazine’s editor, George Newnes, insisted on high-quality production with an abundance of illustration, and the


artist Sidney Paget created the visual image of Sherlock Holmes that has persisted in the public mind ever since. Priced sixpence, the magazine was accessible to a broad audience, and Doyle’s contributions were particularly successful. The collected set both played off and increased the stories’ popularity. The contemporaneity of the stories, the accurate urban topography and recognizable setting of Baker Street, and the employment of current technologies and scientific advances all provided a thoroughly modern background against which the detailed personal histories of the protagonists unfolded and promoted a sense of continuity. The term adventure captures the flavor of these early cases, as Holmes happens across strange and puzzling, rather than obviously criminal, situations. “The RedHeaded League” stages a bizarre cover-up for a bank robbery, while “The Engineer’s Thumb” provides a similarly convoluted scenario for a gang of coiners. Mystery may depend on the concealment of identity, as in “The Copper Beeches” and “A Case of Identity Or the MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP.” The initial impetus for this last tale sends Watson out to track down an opium addict, Isa Whitney, but, having found him, the doctor soon yields his active, professional role to resume his function as chronicler of a very different story. The linchpin of the narrative is the opium den that Watson has entered undisguised, as a respectable visitor, only to find Holmes immersed in the impersonation of an old addict himself—“very thin, very wrinkled, bent with age.” Holmes is caught up in unraveling the mysterious disappearance of an upright middle-class family man, Neville St. Clair. The testimony of Mrs. St. Clair, along with evidence of bloodstains in the living quarters above the opium den, leads Holmes to deduce that her husband has been murdered by the lodger, Hugh Boone, a professional beggar. Boone is notable both for his financial success and for his “repulsive” appearance of bright red hair, coupled with a disfiguring facial scar “from eye to chin” that has contracted to twist “one side of the upper lip, so that three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl.” Characterized as “sinister,” Boone is marked as the prime suspect not only through his association with the Lascar and the evils of the opium trade but also because his brutish physiognomy would typically be understood to denote criminality. That this is a

disguise donned by St. Clair so that he can inhabit the illegal but lucrative world of beggary is ironic in that the appearance of extreme disfigurement, which even “a wife’s eyes could not pierce,” was chosen for its pitifulness and usefulness when begging, rather than for its criminal aptness. St. Clair is predominantly concerned with maintaining the respectable identity he has achieved through his ambitious social mobility, but the integrity of that position is fractured by his leading of a double life. Although Holmes’s own “mastery” of appearances assists him in his pursuit of his “natural prey,” his very success in this also carries transgressive overtones. The ease with which he can apparently transform his features speaks of the depth of impersonation of which he is capable, a depth that suggests an all-too-familiar knowledge of the criminal underworld. That Holmes can insinuate himself so credibly into such an environment raises questions about his own respectability and yet constitutes one of the intellectual tools with which he can penetrate the mystery surrounding St. Clair. Smoking an ounce of shag tobacco while perched on “a sort of Eastern divan,” Holmes creates an atmosphere resonant of the opium den in which he finally detects the truth behind the distraction of appearances. A court case is avoided on the basis of St. Clair’s “solemn oaths” to do away with Hugh Boone. Holmes’s initial theory about the relationship between the two “characters” is thus inverted, and his detective abilities are seen to depend on the perspective from which he observes the facts of a case, rather than from an impartial desire to uphold the law. In the same collection, “The Beryl Coronet” and “The Noble Bachelor” showcase the complexity of Holmes’s detective methods, while in “A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA” no real crime is perpetrated. Within the framework of Watson’s narration, the myriad criminal characters, their victims, and the supporting characters seem to exist merely to place Holmes in a theatrical spotlight, and the collection familiarized readers with the extent of Holmes’s extraordinary powers of penetrating observation and deduction. The disparity between the professional doctor’s diagnostic skills and those of the amateur sleuth favoured Holmes as by far the more effective doctor of society’s ills. In this society the operations of the police also seem pedestrian by contrast


with Holmes’s successes, a trope that Doyle developed from the works of Edgar Allan Poe and WILKIE COLLINS. Yet the mysteries that Holmes encounters rarely present the threat of extreme danger, nor is murder the staple crime it would become for later DETECTIVE FICTION. Although murder is committed in “The Speckled Band,” the impact of personal grief or trauma is secondary to the intellectual solving of the puzzle. In both “The Blue Carbuncle” and “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” Holmes protects the criminals he has unmasked. Like Poe’s Dupin, the great detective straddles the law and criminality, serving justice according to his personal moral code rather than society’s, but by the end of the 12 stories in Adventures, Holmes is nevertheless clearly established as the guardian of Victorian middleclass values and security. Although the stories were extremely successful, Doyle quickly tired of his ingenious hero and famously “killed” the sleuth in a climactic confrontation with his enemy, Professor Moriarty, at the Reichenbach Falls in The Final Problem (1893). Doyle could now pursue his copious production of novels of action and adventure, as well as taking a post as war correspondent in Egypt and later supporting the British management of the Boer War and overseeing a field hospital in South Africa. This patriotism may have been behind his knighthood in 1902, and it would return in a very public manner during World War I when, as war correspondent again and contemporary historian, he was vocal in promoting the British position, most notably in The British Campaign in France and Flanders (1916–20). Despite his other interests, which included standing—unsuccessfully—for Parliament, the clamor of the reading public for more stories about Holmes induced Doyle to write The Hound of The Baskervilles (1902), a short novel that purports to be an adventure from Holmes’s earlier career and has since become one of his best-known works, adapted many times for film and television. Holmes is presented at the peak of his capacity as “scientific machine,” countering local superstition about the eponymous hound with unrivaled forensic detective skills and the unwitting aid of his chronicler, Dr. Watson. The book’s success persuaded Doyle to resurrect Holmes in The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), and the detective made his

final appearance in 1927 in the collection The CaseBook of Sherlock Holmes. World War I marked a turning point in Doyle’s literary focus. While attending the Jesuit school, Doyle seems to have abandoned his Catholicism and later took up the study of psychic phenomena. After 1918 he wrote prolifically about spiritualism, an interest that, while touching a public nerve in the aftermath of so many deaths, would eventually involve him in some ridicule for his investigations into the claims of psychic mediums and for his support of the so-called Cottingley Fairies photographs. Meanwhile, Doyle continued to write poetry, pamphlets, short stories, and more adventure novels, creating such vigorous characters as Professor Challenger in The Lost World (1912) and BRIGADIER GERARD in his own set of adventures. Doyle married twice, his first wife Louise dying of tuberculosis in 1906, and his second wife, Jean, surviving him after his death in 1930. Surrounded by women as a child—he had only one younger brother, and Charles was a distant, when not actually absent, father—his attitude toward women has been the subject of much critical attention. Some find a misogynistic streak in his literary treatment; others see it as indicative of the status quo, whereby women were viewed as the weaker sex, Doyle’s daughter contended that Doyle took an idealistic and protective view of women. Apart from Irene Adler, who outwits Holmes, incurring his admiration in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” female characters certainly tend to be deployed merely as victims and catalysts of the mysteries and, in this sense, the detective stories clearly show an affinity with the patriarchal fictions of empire and adventure that were so popular at the time. Indeed, in the stories produced during and after World War I, Holmes is often involved in solving crimes against the nation rather than crimes against the individual, further reflecting contemporary preoccupations. Although Doyle’s literary output was vast and his public activities diverse, it is for the 56 short stories and four short novels of Sherlock Holmes’s exploits that he is nowadays remembered. While this may not tally with Doyle’s own assessment of serious literary accomplishment, his work has been key in the development of the short story. Written at a time when the periodical press


and the public lending libraries had an increasing impact on the consumption of accessible literature, the Holmes stories, with their serial nature, guaranteed readership loyalty, while the character himself is an embodiment of the concise and unique completeness that is central to the short story form. Arguably formulaic in characterization and plot, the stories nevertheless provided a relevant reworking of Poe’s original detective, Dupin, retaining his psychological expertise but utilizing all the modernity of science, technology, and medicine to create a new blueprint for detective fiction that still resonates today.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Booth, Martin. The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. New York: Thomas Dunne Books and St Martin’s Minotaur, 1997. Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. London: Newnes, 1892. ———. A Study in Scarlet. London: Ward Lock, 1888. ———. The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales. London: Longman, 1890. ———. The Hound of the Baskervilles. London: Newnes, 1902. ———. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. London: Newnes, 1894. ———. Memories and Adventures. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1924. ———. The Return of Sherlock Holmes. London: Newnes, 1905. ———. The Sign of Four. London: Blackett, 1890. Green, Roger Lancelyn, and John Michael Gibson. A Bibliography of A. Conan Doyle. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983. Stashower, Daniel. Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. London: Penguin, 1999. Therie Hendry-Seabrook

“DREAM CARGOES” J. G. BALLARD (1991) Included in the American edition of J. G. BALLARD’s War Fever, “Dream Cargoes” summarizes some of the staple ingredients of Ballard’s writing while also prefiguring the ecological themes of his novel Rushing to Paradise (1994). The story focuses on Johnson, a “deck hand on the lowest grade of chemical waste carrier,” who unexpectedly achieves his first command. Tricked by Captain Galloway into joining the crew of the Prospero, Johnson decides to remain when the others aban-

don ship. The drunken, intemperate Galloway has been bribed into transporting unspecified but highly toxic “organic by-products.” Prohibited from weighing anchor, the freighter drifts forlornly until entering the path of a hurricane. As the chemicals spill into the sea, the ship fatally holed, Galloway and his men take the remaining lifeboat. Johnson, however, elects to stay behind and become “master of his own fate.” This opening description recalls Ballard’s debt to JOSEPH CONRAD, in this instance to both “YOUTH: A NARRATIVE” and The SHADOW-LINE. However, whereas in “Youth” it is the narrator who leads the crew to safety, Johnson’s refusal to leave not only introduces a different narrative trajectory but also resists a more conventional romantic heroism. Instead, the allusions to Prospero and the hurricane indicate that this story is to also become a rewriting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Running the ship to ground on a forgotten atoll, once used by the U.S. Military as a garbage dump, Johnson sleeps until he is disturbed by Christine, a marine biologist. While Johnson has slept, the leaking chemicals have begun to affect the local environment, changing a spoiled wilderness into a profusion of new, giant, and hybrid plant forms. Christine’s hope is to uncover the secret of what has happened before the U.S. Navy “scorch[es] the island with flame-throwers.” After four months, the island has been transformed into a “botanical mad-house,” Johnson has become immensely strong, and Christine is carrying their child after “one brief act of love, over so quickly that he was scarcely sure it had ever occurred.” Whereas Christine, who divides her time between the island and the mainland, remains dedicated to her scientific investigation, Johnson has become oversensitive toward the island and its exotic wildlife. By the following week, Johnson has begun to hallucinate and to lose all sense of passing time: “He stared at Christine, aware that the colours were separating themselves from her skin and hair. Superimposed images of herself, each divided from the others by a fraction of a second, blurred the air around her, an exotic plumage that sprang from her arms and shoulders. The staid reality that had trapped them all was beginning to dissolve.” While recalling the hallucinogenic imagery of his novel The Crystal World (1967),


the story also recounts one of his major themes: the recovery of nonlinear time from an imposed chronological order. Johnson’s behavior, though, proves too much for Christine. While he pictures her as an angelic, Ariel figure, Christine radios a passing U.S. naval cutter, effectively the Caliban to Johnson’s Prospero. Christine’s commitment to rationality, her treatment of nature as an object of study, means that she cannot align herself with Johnson’s almost mystical insight in which he has come to believe “that he was responsible for the transformation.” However, as the cutter prepares to take Christine and Johnson back to the mainland, Johnson leaps overboard, hoping that he can “climb the trees and release the birds” in their mutual “escape from time.” Whereas the narrator of Conrad’s “The SECRET SHARER” has to abandon his double in order to take his place within human society, Ballard’s protagonist refuses the profanity of public time and, instead, rejoins the sanctity of his own private vision.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ballard, J. G. The Complete Short Stories. London: Flamingo, 2001. Paul March-Russell

“DUALITISTS, THE” BRAM STOKER (1887) First published in the Theatre Annual (1887), “The Dualitists,” frequently cited as demonstrating one of BRAM STOKER’s favorite themes, male bonding, evokes a world of children’s adventure stories. As in much of Stoker’s fiction, the driving force grows out of an innate male lust for violence. Two young boys, Harry Merford and Tommy Santon, are each given an identical knife as Christmas presents. Armed with these symbols of manliness, self-possession, and self-ownership, the boys put their weapons to the test by “hacking” them against the other like fencing swordsmen. When the knives become worn out, the boys look for other paired objects that they might use to continue their game— furniture, dolls, pet rabbits—before deciding on two human weapons: a set of identical baby twins belonging to neighbors Ephraim and Sophonisba Bubb. In the climax of the story, the boys smash the twins together in “apotheosis of art.” When Mr. Bubb tries to wrest his children from their torturers, he misses and

blows off the heads of his own children with a “doublebarrelled gun.” The boys wave the torsos of the twins like trophies. When the mutilated bodies are thrown into the air, the parents try to catch them but are killed by the weight of their children’s bodies falling on top of them, thus ensuring the extinction of the whole Bubb family. With Harry and Tommy acting as the only witnesses, a coroner’s court concludes that the parents (“inhuman monsters, maddened by drink”) must have been guilty of infanticide and suicide. Tommy and Harry meanwhile are feted as heroes. This macabre story depends for its effectiveness partly on the doubling that is so insistent a feature of Stoker’s fiction and in gothic writing generally. The infanticide and parricide of the two boys is graphically depicted, and the narrative gains much from our being forced to respond to the suggestion that the mutant violence emerging in the story is latent in everyone— even small children. The events of the narrative are presented in matter-of-fact terms, even humorously; we are not asked to weep for the murdered children and their parents. As elsewhere in Stoker’s fiction, the tradition of the gothic horror tale is transformed and domesticated, with the ensuing paradox that the appalling wickedness and gruesome crimes are perpetuated by small children running out of control in commonplace, ordinary modern settings. Related to this is the way the narrator stresses the narcissism of the two spoiled boys. Their heroism surpasses the likes of Napoleon and Nelson (the figures the boys claim as the inspiration for their game); they view themselves not as “unregenerate youths” but as heroes, not as butchers but as musketeers, demonstrating their manhood by mimicking accepted masculine codes, refusing Bubb’s mandate to come down off the roof: “ ‘Never!’ Exclaimed the heroic two with one impulse, and continued their awful pastime with a zest tenfold” (57). In a preface to the story, Peter Haining has suggested that Stoker developed the idea for it by watching Henry Irving’s performances in the dueling epic The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas père, a story of twin brothers separated at birth but held together by a psychic bond. The domestic setting may also owe something to Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of doubling, “William Wilson” (1839). Critics have also


detected political overtones, seeing the story as Stoker’s allegorization of Anglo-Irish relations during the 1880s, a time when Irish resentment against British rule was prompting an escalation of armed resistance to the British authorities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Stoker, Bram. Bram Stoker’s Midnight Tales. Edited by Peter Haining. London: Peter Owen, 1990. Hughes, William, and Andrew Smith, eds. Bram Stoker: History, Psychoanalysis and the Gothic. London: Macmillan, 1998. Valente, Joseph, “ ‘Double Born’: Bram Stoker and the Metrocolonial Gothic,” Modern Fiction Studies 46 (2000): 632–645. Peter Matthias


JAMES JOYCE wrote most of the short stories in Dubliners in Trieste in 1905. Even after finding a publisher, however, concerns about content (in particular, his liberal use of actual people and place-names from Dublin) stalled publication until 1914. One of the more notable characteristics of the collection is that even while the central protagonist changes from one story to the next, the sequence of stories is such that Dubliners largely gives the effect of a central character aging, as each successive story focuses on a marginally older protagonist. Dubliner’s was written against the backdrop of British colonial oppression and the repressive religious institutions of the Catholic Church, both of which haunt the many characters in these stories and provide Dubliners with a consistent theme and atmosphere. It is often noted, for instance, that the stories are predominantly about the social, economic, and political paralysis that is a consequence of such repression. In “EVELINE,” the title character’s inability to escape her ailing and abusive father is mirrored in her inability to leave Ireland for Argentina with Frank. Even as Little Chandler of “A LITTLE CLOUD” is inspired to greater things on the occasion of Ignatius Gallaher’s visit from London, where he has become a successful journalist, Dublin is ultimately represented as paralytic to ambition and repressive of literary and creative pursuits. Critics find corroboration for this reading in the fact that Joyce not only wrote Dubliners in Trieste

but lived almost exclusively in Europe from 1902 until his death. Dubliners is perhaps most remarkable aesthetically, however, for Joyce’s development and implementation of the epiphany. In the epiphany of “A Little Cloud,” when Little Chandler finally becomes cognizant of the paralysis that accompanies marriage and fatherhood, he screams into the face of his infant son; this, in turn, only intensifies his paralysis regarding his relationship with his wife. While not written in the stream-of-consciousness narrative style that Joyce first made famous with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and remastered for Ulysses, the stories are replete with self-conscious characters who second-guess and reconsider their actions in the face of the paralysis that overwhelms and represses them. James Duffy of “A Painful Case,” for instance, “lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful sideglances.” It is worth noting that this self-consciousness—perhaps best embodied by the narrator of “ARABY,” who, in his own epiphanic moment as he leaves the fair, having failed in his quest to purchase a gift for Mangan’s sister, “saw himself as a creature driven and derided by vanity”—only makes the paralysis of the characters more intense. Eveline’s inability to leave her position is intensified by her realization that she has so few options. In “The Boarding House,” Mr. Doran’s “notion that he was being had” provides him little relief in the face of the owner’s machinations to see him paired with her daughter. In the final analysis, Dubliners is populated by characters suffering a peculiar sort of paralysis in which their knowledge about the futility of their position does little to help them understand the appropriate means of escaping it. In addition to being notable for their artistic achievements, the stories are also important to Joyce scholars both because they follow a similar chronological arc to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses (at the beginning of Portrait Stephen Daedelus is very young, and we see him at various distinct ages as the novel progresses; Ulysses picks up where Portrait leaves off) and because some of the characters that are introduced in Dubliners can be found again in the allusion-packed Ulysses.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Beck, J. Warren. Joyce’s Dubliners: Substance, Vision, and Art. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1969. Ellman, Richard. James Joyce. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Joyce, James. Dubliners. New York: Penguin, 2000. Torchiana, Donald T. Backgrounds for Joyce’s Dubliners. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1986. Daniel Jernigan


As with many of his shorter pieces, JOSEPH CONRAD interrupted work on a novel—in this case Chance—to write the Napoleonic novella The Duel. It was originally published serially in Britain as “The Duel—A Military Tale” in Pall Mall Magazine in January through May of 1908. That same year, in July through October, it was published in the United States, in Forum, as “The Point of Honor.” Following the serial publication in Britain, A Set of Six was released in August 1908, in which The Duel was collected with five shorter works. Both the novella and the book received good reviews on both sides of the Atlantic; critics cited the thrilling pace, directness, and credibility of the narrative, as well as its comic and ironic under- and overtones. Favorable comparisons were made to the work of Turgenev and Meredith, while a French reviewer called the novella “artistically imperfect” though showing “prodigious imagination.” The Duel is, characteristically for Conrad, an ironic dramatization of apparently actual events: a duel in which the duelists fought again and again throughout most of the Napoleonic period. This particular duel achieved sufficiently legendary status to be retold, or synopsized, in print with every subsequent resurgence of dueling. It is believed—and Conrad suggests as much in his preface to A Set of Six—that the source of the novella lies in one of these many retellings, such as that which appears in the September 1858, number of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (though it is unlikely Conrad saw this particular one). In Conrad’s version of the tale, two young hussars— light cavalry officers in Napoleon’s army—become embroiled in a duel, the cause of which only they (and the reader) know. They face off against each other in several bloody but nonfatal encounters over a period

spanning 16 years. Their duel is suspended, however, whenever they are called to duty in support of Napoleon’s own long-running and wide-ranging duel against the rest of Europe, or whenever one outranks the other—dueling with inferiors being an even greater crime than dueling itself. The feud—and it does resemble a feud more than a duel—comes to an end when the hubris of one of the combatants gets the better of him, leaving him with two empty pistols and facing a well-armed opponent. Of the two main characters in Conrad’s story, Armand D’Hubert is clearly the protagonist. The other, Gabriel Florian Feraud, from the manner in which Conrad characterizes him from the outset, is obviously the antagonist. Feraud is a professional duelist; he is the instigator in every encounter with D’Hubert. He is the one who, when he has all but forgotten about D’Hubert and the duel, is set off yet again by even the slightest mention of his opponent. Feraud (mis)reads every transfer of duty and promotion granted to D’Hubert as personal affronts. D’Hubert, on the other hand, is the unwilling, yet complaisant, victim of Feraud’s rage. Today, these two could be classified as codependent, as D’Hubert’s willing submittal to his nemesis’s every summons enables Feraud to act out his rage against the lot he was dealt in life. D’Hubert cannot and will not disengage from Feraud, who cannot and will not disengage from him. It is a point of honor in both cases for both men, and it must be worked out between them. Perhaps the most significant irony—and a significant element of Conrad’s creative reworking of a wellknown story—is that the events following the initial confrontation between D’Hubert and Feraud are, in effect, a duel over dueling. Though the story is told from a third-person, omniscient point of view, readers’ knowledge of the circumstances and the characters involved is focalized through D’Hubert. Conrad skillfully uses this narrative technique to build sympathy for his protagonist. The narrative itself is compressed between a beginning and an ending that frame as well as define the story. It begins with a misreading of events and intentions by Feraud. He is to be placed under house arrest for dueling, a violation of his Emperor’s rules; his rage at the general who orders him placed under arrest is transferred to the messenger,


D’Hubert. The ending, and the literal end of the duel, occurs when D’Hubert leaves Feraud no room to misread the real meaning of honor. As in Sir Walter Scott’s tale, “The TWO DROVERS,” it is the act of a relatively minor character—in this case, the general requesting the arrest of Feraud—that serves as the unintentional catalyst, precipitating the events in an otherwise nonreactive yet potentially volatile situation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Conrad, Joseph. “The Duel.” In A Set of Six, 8th ed. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1926. The Duellists. Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel. 1977. DVD. Paramount Pictures, 2002. Ferguson, J. DeLancey. “The Plot of Conrad’s The Duel,” Modern Language Notes 50, no. 6 (1935): 385–390. Knowles, Owen, and Gene Moore. Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. James Fromm

DU MAURIER, DAPHNE (1907–1989) Novelist, dramatist, short story writer, and biographer, Du Maurier is best known for her 1940 novel Rebecca, widely considered to be the 20th century’s first major gothic novel. Her grandfather was Trilby author George du Maurier. Originally from London, du Maurier spent the bulk of her adulthood in Cornwall, which frequently provided the evocative setting for her suspense fiction. In 1932, Du Maurier married a Grenadier Guards officer, Major Frederick Arthur Browning. The couple had three children. Du Maurier followed her husband to his various postings both within and outside the United Kingdom. During this time, Du Maurier produced many of her best-known works including Rebecca and Jamaica Inn (1936), both of which evoke the Cornwall home she missed while living abroad. During her early and middle writing career, Du Maurier was extremely popular. However, the works of her later career, other than The House on the Strand (1969), were not as well received. Recently her work has been reevaluated, and her literary standing has once again risen. Du Maurier published her first short story, “And Now to God the Father,” in the May 15, 1929, edition of the Bystander, a periodical edited by her uncle William Beaumont. On June 26 she published a second

story, “A Difference in Temperament,” in the same periodical. This led to her first collection, The Apple Tree and Other Stories, in 1952. This volume included her best-known short story, “The Birds.” She was inspired to write the story after seeing a farmer being attacked by a flock of seagulls as he plowed his field. Expanding on this incident, Du Maurier developed her story of birds becoming progressively more hostile to humans when an especially rough winter has led to food scarcity. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film adaptation of the story displeased Du Maurier, largely because he set it in California rather than Cornwall, a setting she considered a vital part of the story. Du Maurier’s second collection of short stories, The Breaking Point, was published in 1959. Two notable stories in this collection are “The Alibi,” about a man who exchanges his boring life for a more exciting one and ends up being charged with murder, and “Ganymede,” about a man who journeys to Venice in an unsuccessful attempt to escape his homosexuality. Her third collection of short stories, Not after Midnight and Other Stories, contains the chilling story “Don’t Look Now.” Du Maurier is at her best when creating atmospheric settings, and the Venice of this story is dark, labyrinthine, and nightmarish. In this story, a married couple is vacationing in Venice to ease their grief over their daughter’s death. They meet two elderly English sisters who tell them their daughter’s spirit is there and is communicating that they must leave Italy immediately. The wife does leave, but the husband stays and meets a terrifying end. “Don’t Look Now” was also made into a film (1973) but was more faithful to the original story than The Birds. Perhaps because of the popularity of this story, the collection was republished in 1971 as Don’t Look Now. Du Maurier’s writing style is easily readable but at times uneven. Nevertheless, her best works are truly masterpieces of gothic suspense. Probably because of its popular appeal, Du Maurier’s work has not been the subject of much scholarly criticism. Avril Horner’s Daphne Du Maurier: Writing, Identity, and the Gothic Imagination (1998) is a notable examination of Du Maurier’s gothic work. A recent biography, Margaret Forster’s Daphne Du Maurier: The Secret Life of the Renowned Storyteller (1993), though authorized by the


Du Maurier family, provides new—and sometimes shocking—insights into Du Maurier’s life and work.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Forster, Margaret. Daphne Du Maurier: The Secret Life of the Renowned Storyteller. New York: Doubleday, 1993. Horner, Avril. Daphne Du Maurier: Writing, Identity, and the Gothic Imagination. New York: St. Martin’s, 1998. Du Maurier, Daphne. The Apple Tree and Other Stories. London: Gollancz, 1952. ———. The Breaking Point. London: Gollancz, 1959. ———. Classics from the Macabre. London: Gollancz, 1987. ———. Echoes from the Macabre. London: Gollancz, 1976. ———. Not after Midnight and Other Stories. London: Gollancz, 1971. ———. The Rendezvous and Other Stories. London: Gollancz, 1980. Leah Larson


HELEN (1952– ) Born in Yorkshire in 1952, Helen Dunmore has achieved recognition for both her poetry and prose writing in a notably prolific career. After studying English at the University of York, she taught in Finland for two years before returning to England, where she has worked at the University of Bristol and as a reviewer for the Times and the Observer. Her first book of poetry, The Apple Fall, was published in 1983, and her next collection, The Sea Skater (1986), won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award in 1987. Dunmore admits that she was “very intimidated by prose” and did not publish her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, until 1993. This won the McKitterick Prize in 1994, and Dunmore’s third novel, A Spell of Winter (1995), won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996. Since then she has written five more novels; The Siege (2001) was short-listed for both the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction. Dunmore has also written several books for children, winning the Signal Poetry Award in 1995 for Secrets (1994). Dunmore’s two volumes of short fiction both show the influence of her time in Finland, and the great majority of the stories in her first collection, Love of Fat Men (1997), concentrate on Scandinavian characters and settings. The opening story, “Love of Fat Men,” introduces Ulli, a frequently recurring character who

embodies Dunmore’s central themes of fraught family relationships, social alienation, and emotional dislocation. These themes also feature in the non-Ulli stories, such as “Annina” and “North Sea Crossing,” but Ulli’s repeated appearances in the book allow for a greater development of Dunmore’s bleak perspective on human interaction. The Ulli stories run from her childhood to early adulthood, but their lack of chronological order further emphasizes Dunmore’s focus on the fragility of the bond between parent and child. The young Ulli’s naively hopeful attempts to foster communication in “Family Meetings” are made all the more poignant by the earlier stories “Ullikins,” in which an older Ulli has voluntarily estranged herself from her parents and brothers, and “Spring Wedding,” in which 16-year-old Ulli secretly worries that she is pregnant. Dunmore’s characters consistently lack emotional honesty, reflecting the individual’s confusion in postmodern society, where conventional ideas about role and identity are constantly being remade. Ulli reappears less frequently in Dunmore’s second volume of short fiction, Ice Cream (2000), but her presence in “The Kiwi Fruit Arbour,” which follows directly from “Spring Wedding,” further complicates the focus on parent-child relationships. In “The Kiwi Fruit Arbour” there is no doubt that Ulli is pregnant, but the conspicuous absence of a child in her later life provides new insights into the precarious nature of her subsequent relationships, lending new significance to the previous Ulli stories. However, while Ice Cream traces the same lines of emotional enquiry as Love of Fat Men, it ranges more widely in characterization and setting. The opening story, “My Polish Teacher’s Tie,” reflects Dunmore’s interest in social marginalization but in the more mundane context of a primary school, while “Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Superstork” is an unexpectedly futuristic tale of eugenics that gives an ethical resonance to the familiar theme of parenthood. Dunmore’s stories repeatedly question accepted notions about belonging and love by highlighting the limits of our emotional understanding, often producing unsettling meditations on the lawlessness of human emotions. Dunmore has been most highly praised for the inspired lyricism of her prose, particularly in relation to the sensuousness of her descriptive writing. While


these two collections contain precisely observed and often disturbing bleak dissections of human relationships, Dunmore’s real strength lies in her ability to evoke physical sensation. She repeatedly uses food, weather, and landscape to generate intensely memorable images that emphasize the indefinably complex and transient nature of the impulse and instincts that inform her fiction.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dunmore, Helen. The Apple Fall. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Bloodaxe, 1983. ———. Ice Cream. London: Viking, 2000. ———. Interview with Robert McCrum. Observer (June 10, 2001). Available online. URL: http//,,504308,00. html. Accessed May 11, 2006. ———. Love of Fat Men. London: Viking, 1997. ———. Secrets. London: Bodley Head, 1994. ———. The Siege. London: Viking, 2001. ———. A Spell of Winter. London: Viking, 1995. Rochelle Sibley

DYSON, JEREMY (1966– ) Born and raised in Leeds, Jeremy Dyson is now better known for being the cocreator of the town of Royston Vasey and the unseen face of The League of Gentlemen, the cult television comedy series in which it features. Having studied both philosophy at Leeds University and screenwriting at the Northern School of Film and Television, it is perhaps no surprise that as well as his work on television he was asked to write the foreword for a recent translation of Dostoevsky’s The Double. He has published one collection of short stories: Never Trust a Rabbit (2000). Treading the spectrum from Edgar Allan Poe to Mervyn Peake, his view on the world, while skewed, is still

familiar. It is in provoking this sensation of recognition that he is able to unsettle the reader. “City Deep,” a disturbing story, seems remarkably prescient with its main character’s stated fear of traveling on the London Underground in case of “[s]ome terrible bomb left by a vengeful terrorist.” It then takes this fear further and darker in a way that recalls the gothic tales of the early 20th-century writer H. P. Lovecraft. Another story that stands clear from the rest is “At Last,” in which two young Jewish boys, led to fear that the crowd that they can hear gathering in the streets is a mob that has “come for the Jews again,” find that it is a gathering of fellow Jews walking the streets in an affirmation of life. While ostensibly positive, this story seems representative of the collection: It discomfits evens as it uplifts, reminding the reader of the terrors of the Holocaust. In the final story, “All in the Telling,” Dyson brings the collection to a close with a howl of outrage in which the telling of stories is equated, and then replaced, with purchased sex. Critics have been largely positive about Dyson’s writing, listing a number of writers whom they feel Dyson emulates, but it is his contemporary resonance that makes him interesting. His gothic influences are tempered with modern fear and anger that make the stories his own.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dyson, Jeremy. Never Trust a Rabbit. London: Duck Editions, 2000. ———. What Happens Now. London: Abacus, 2006. Dyson, Jeremy, et al. The League of Gentlemen: Scripts and That. London: BBC Books, 2003. Calum Kerr



SALMAN RUSHDIE’s only collection of short stories, East West, is organized into three sections, “East,” “West,” and “East, West,” with three stories in each. In an interview for the Bookseller in 1994, Salman Rushdie firmly locates himself in the title of East, West: “[T]he most important part of the title was the comma. Because it seems to me that I am that comma—or at least that I live in the comma.” All of the stories in this collection deal with representations of home and with people whose homes become uncertain. A longing for home connects the first story in the collection, “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies,” to the last, “The Courter.” In the first story, a confident woman fails her English immigration interrogation in order to remain in Lahore, Pakistan, as an ayah (or nanny). “The Courter” sees another ayah return to India to repair a heart murmur caused by homesickness. “The Courter” is a classic episode from a bildungsroman, or tale of development, in which a schoolboy portrays a few short years of his life in a clash of language, unrequited lusts, and the raging arguments and efforts of politeness that define family life. In the “West” section, Rushdie shifts the firm ground from beneath three great Western tales that have acquired mythical status: those of Hamlet, Christopher Columbus, and the Wizard of Oz. “Yorick” begins in Rushdie’s characteristic style, with an extended flow of disjointed narration: The first sentence is more than a page in length. “At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers” is a bitter story of loss and gain; the auction house

becomes a microcosm of contemporary society, where the rich and powerful are protected from the outcasts, orphans, tramps, and political refugees who inhabit small sections of the overcrowded room. In “Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate their Relationship (Santa Fe A.D. 1492),” Columbus waits for the royal commission that will permit him to travel west and reach America. The story asks a recurring postcolonial question when it contests the notion that he discovered the Americas. Perhaps the most poignant story in the collection is “The Free Radio,” in which overpopulation leads to mass sterilization. The narrator’s perspective transforms the social realism into a tale of one man’s hope and dependence. The beautiful young man, waiting for the free radio from the government that he believes is part of the sterilization deal, clings desperately to the empty space next to his ear, where he hopes that his recompense, the acknowledgment for his sacrifice, will reside.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Rushdie, Salman. East, West. London: Jonathan Cape, 1994. Reder, Michael R., ed. Conversations with Salman Rushdie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2000. Jenni Ramone

EBONY TOWER, THE JOHN FOWLES (1974) According to JOHN FOWLES: “The working title of this collection of stories was Variations, by which I meant



to suggest variations both on certain themes in previous books of mine and in methods of narrative presentation” (119). The four stories in the collection, are “The EBONY TOWER,” “Poor Koko,” “The ENIGMA,” and “The Cloud.” A striking feature is the inclusion of a translation of a medieval French tale, “Eliduc,” which is preceded by an introduction in which Fowles highlights a personal and a general theory of fiction. Fowles remarks that in reading stories such as “Eliduc,” “the writer of fiction . . . is watching his own birth” (120). The stories deal with conflicts in love, sex, and guilt; the reconciliation of opposites, the functions of art and the artist; and the paradoxes of free choice. The implicit devices of the collection are the epigraphs at the beginning of each story and the patterns of intertextuality and allusion, of quest, adventure, disappearance, and nature. However, Fowles himself writes, “Again and again in recent years I have told visiting literary academics that the key to my fiction, for what it is worth, lies in my relationship with nature” (2005, 35). The title story, “The Ebony Tower,” shows the tragedy of authenticity and choice when a young English painter and art critic, David Williams, goes to hunt Henry Breasley, an aging expatriate artist living in Brittany. “Eliduc” presents the medieval theme of romance with its aura of courtly love. “Poor Koko” is an ordeal of a particular night, where the narrator is the subject of his narrative encounter with a burglar. “Koko” is a Japanese word and means correct filial behavior, “the proper attitude of son to father” (186). “The Enigma” falls into a subgenre of DETECTIVE FICTION in which the mystery is not solved and no solutions are hinted at. The narrative of the last story, “The Cloud,” circles around two families who spend a day near a forest beside a river. Catherine, a recently widowed artist, is reminiscent of the fairy tale princess who, lost in the woods, disappears under mysterious circumstances.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Fowles, John. The Ebony Tower. London: Cape, 1974. ———. The Tree. London: Vintage, 2005. Krishna Barua

“EBONY TOWER, THE” JOHN FOWLES (1974) In “The Ebony Tower,” JOHN FOWLES wrote a variation on

his novel The Magus (1965). Both narratives present a young man who, guided by an older mentor figure, has to make life-determining decisions while being tempted by an artistic young woman. In this short story, the artist and art critic David Williams travels to France to interview fellow painter Henry Breasley, an old man who lives with Diana (the Mouse) and Anne (the Freak), his two beautiful young muses, in an enchanted forest, “the sacred wood of the mythical quest” (Barnum 134). The theme of mystery and romance introduced through the almost magical quality of its location finds reinforcement through the story’s intertextual links to Marie de France’s medieval lai “Eliduc,” a translation of which Fowles included with his short stories. Both narratives investigate the trials of romantic love, the conventions of society, and the necessity to stay true to personal feelings. Williams, however, proves to have an immature, or at least conventional, personality, being driven by the rules and regulations of British bourgeois life. Drawn between his unexciting marriage and the temptations that the highly intelligent, artistic, emotional, and sexually uninhibited Mouse represents, he chooses to honor his marital vows and thereby betrays his emotional self. Indeed, Williams’s inability to express his innermost thoughts and feelings in a personal, truthful fashion also characterizes his critical writing, in which he succumbs to recent aesthetic fads and squanders his original artistic talent. Echoes of the kinds of psychoanalytic theories popularized by Carl Jung are omnipresent in the short story. They find their way into the constellation of characters, with Breasley representing a mentor figure and the two characters Diana and Anne representing realizations of womanhood as either spiritual muse or sexual vamp. Williams’s conflict also stands for the struggle between his repressed needs and wishes, what Jung called shadow, and his outer mask of convention and conformity, the persona. His inability to bring these two sides into harmony shows Williams to be a highly flawed and inauthentic character. His excessive reliance on theoretical frameworks appears as his fundamental deficiency. Where Williams is cerebral, Breasley is physical. While the former sees in art predominantly an intellectual exercise, the latter thinks of his work as an emotional, sexual, and fundamentally intimate activity.


The conflict between mind and body that these two approaches represent comes down heavily in favor of Breasley’s physical version of art. Williams’s highly abstract views on (often also highly abstract) art Fowles presents as inauthentic, irrelevant, and self-congratulatory. In Barry Olshen’s words, Fowles ostracizes “the failures of the age” (95). The story’s implicit references to Williams’s repressed and futile sexuality further emphasize the masturbatory tendencies of his theoretical discourse. In “The Ebony Tower,” Fowles draws a negative picture of his contemporaries’ modes of criticism, condemning them as overly abstract and out of tune with real-world issues.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Acheson, James. John Fowles. London: Macmillan, 1998. Conradi, Peter. John Fowles. London: Methuen, 1982. Foster, Thomas C. Understanding John Fowles. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994. Fowles, John. The Ebony Tower. 1974. London: Cape, 1984. Olshen, Barry. John Fowles. New York: Ungar, 1978. Gerd Bayer


Irvine Welsh’s second collection of short fiction was published in 1996, arriving in the midst of the author’s greatest moment of popularity. Danny Boyle’s film adaptation of Trainspotting had been released earlier that year, and its remarkable success had sparked interest in the first novel as well as Welsh’s subsequent work. The publication of Ecstasy was apparently hastened in order to capitalize on the momentum created by the film. Despite impressive sales, however, the book was poorly received by reviewers, and its lukewarm reception marked the beginning of a critical backlash against an author who had to that point been embraced by both the literary establishment and the popular marketplace. “Ecstasy” is the more familiar name of MDMA, the pleasure drug of choice of the so-called chemical generation associated with Britain’s rave scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Welsh’s work began to be embraced by young clubgoers following the 1994 publication of The Acid House, whose title alluded to one of their preferred musical styles. The title and packaging of

Ecstasy indicate a continued attempt on the part of author and publisher alike to appeal to this youth subculture. Ecstasy, along with other concoctions favored by ravers, LSD and Temazapan, figures heavily in these stories. Indeed, some reviewers of Ecstasy found Welsh’s tone uncomfortably evangelical on the subject, although the pharmaceutical catastrophe underlying the second story, “Fortune’s Always Hiding,” might be seen as a counterargument to the book’s occasional eulogies for chemically-induced altered states of consciousness. The first novella, “Lorraine Goes to Livingston,” centers on the transformation of Rebecca Navarro, a pampered and successful writer of popular romances, whose banal style Welsh parodies in excerpts from Rebecca’s work. While recovering from a stroke, Rebecca learns the truth about her husband, Perky, an apparently doting man who is secretly disdainful of her and pursues a sexually adventurous life hitherto unknown to his wife. With the assistance of her young nurse, Rebecca plots her revenge on the unsuspecting Perky. The second story, “Fortune’s Always Hiding,” is a tale of the bloody revenge wreaked by Samantha, a victim of Tenazadrine, a fictional painkiller that recalls a genuine pharmaceutical disaster of the late 1950s: the introduction of Thalidomide, a drug intended supposed to relieve morning sickness in pregnant women, which resulted in thousands of dead and malformed infants all over the world. The final novella, “The Undefeated,” is a surprisingly conventional romance that brings together Lloyd, an aging raver growing uncomfortable with the continuing aimlessness of his life, and Heather, a woman freeing herself from a dull, confining marriage. Ecstasy’s subtitle—“Three Tales of Chemical Romance”—highlights what was for many an ultimately disappointing aspect of this collection: Welsh’s unlikely foray into romance. That all three of these novellas might fairly be labeled “romances” at all is open to question, most obviously in the case of “Fortune’s Always Hiding,” whose “romance” involves the revenge-obsessed Samantha and Dave, an east London thug whom Samantha manipulates into assisting in the mutilation and murder of the man who brought to Britain the deadly drug that left her with no arms.


Clearly, the genre takes on some unaccustomed shapes in Welsh’s hands. However, some of the inherited conventions of romance do make their presence felt in Ecstasy. There is a new emphasis in these stories on female characters as central figures, and the first and final stories end happily and with scenes of integration—most neatly so in “The Undefeated,” with its final note of true love found; Welsh mocks the popular romance in his first story only to embrace its fundamental outline without apparent irony in his last. In hindsight, Welsh himself has acknowledged the weaknesses of Ecstasy in comparison with other work. Arguably his least successful book, Ecstasy nonetheless demonstrates Welsh’s continuing willingness to experiment with a variety of styles and genres.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Welsh, Irvine. Ecstasy. New York: Norton, 1996. Brian Patton

EDGEWORTH, MARIA (1768–1849)

Born on New Year’s Day in 1768, Maria Edgeworth was the eldest daughter of an Irish landowner living in Oxfordshire. Her first publication, Letters for Literary Ladies (1795), defended women’s right to education. In 1796 she published The Parent’s Assistant, a collection of short stories for children. The collection was both influential and popular; it eventually ran to seven volumes. In 1800, she published her first short novel, Castle Rackrent. Like The Absentee (1812), Castle Rackrent explores the profligacy and dire irresponsibility of an Irish landowner in the 18th century. In 1823 she visited Walter Scott, who became probably her most enthusiastic reader. The Absentee prompted Scott to return to his manuscript of Waverley (1814), making Edgeworth partially responsible for the explosion of the historical novel in the 19th century. Her work was wide-ranging; she was interested in notions of nationality, gender, education, colonial politics, and the nature of authorship. For most of the 20th century she was all but ignored, but she has recently begun to be republished and reread, and a number of interesting studies of her work have appeared, most notably, by Marilyn Butler.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Butler, Marilyn. Maria Edgeworth: A Literary Biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972. ———. Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and Its Background 1760–1830. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Edgeworth, Maria. Castle Rackrent. Edited by George Watson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964. Vybarr Cregan-Reid

EGERTON, GEORGE (1859–1945)

George Egerton was the pseudonym of Mary Chavelita Dunne (later Bright), one of the so-called NEW WOMAN writers of the 1890s. Born on December 14, 1859, in Melbourne, Australia, she was the eldest of six children. When she was a young woman, her personal life was fraught with difficulties, including a short, brutal elopement with a bigamist friend of her father’s, Henry Higginson. From 1888 until his death in 1889, Egerton lived with Higginson in Norway, where she learned Norwegian and read such writers as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the Scandinavian writers Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Olaf Hansson, and the novelist Knut Hamsun (with whom she had an affair). Upon her return to London, she married George Egerton Clairmonte, who had recently returned from Africa, in 1891; he seemed incapable of employment, so Egerton began to write for financial support and divorced him in 1901. After purchasing a penny exercise book, she wrote her short stories in sepia ink and then sent them to T. P. Gill, the literary columnist for the Weekly Sun, for his opinion. Although he praised their originality in his column, he clearly found them shocking in their outspoken discussions of sexuality. Ironically, he believed they were the work of a male author and wrote to Egerton, asking her to edit them before publication. Once he learned her true identity, Gill encouraged her to submit them to William Heinemann; ultimately, it was John Lane at the Bodley Head who chose to publish them as KEYNOTES, the inaugural (and eponymous) volume in his series (1893); he had them bound with a frontispiece and cover illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley. Included in the collection was the much-anthologized story “A CROSS LINE.” Egerton followed this with the short story collections Discords


(1894), Symphonies (1897), Fantasias (1898), and two later texts, a fictionalized collection of letters in Rosa Amorosa (1901) and the autobiographical novel Wheel of God (1898). Her writing created a stir with its frank depiction of the “terra incognita” of woman’s psychological complexity and her honest representation of women’s sexuality. She was variously praised for her original themes and stylistic advances, which anticipate MODERNISM while showing influence from the naturalist school, and reprimanded for her audacity. In the December 1893 volume of Review of Reviews, the critic remarked that the writer of Keynotes was a “woman [who] has crystallised her life’s drama, has written down her soul on the page,” while Punch caricatured her text as “She Notes” by “Borgia Smudgiton”; Hugh Stutfield wrote in “Tommyrotics” and “The Psychology of Feminism” that Egerton was neurotic, her themes were inappropriate for a woman, and her texts were morbid depictions of modern life. Her ability to write psychological snapshots of a woman’s life at moments of crisis or to discuss alcoholism, suicide, conventional attitudes on respectability, and woman’s essential nature prefigures the state of consciousness found in the work of modernists such as JAMES JOYCE and VIRGINIA WOOLF, making her an important although often-neglected figure in the development of the late Victorian short story. In 1901, after various rumored affairs with literary men, Egerton formed a lasting marriage with Reginald Golding Bright, a dramatic agent 15 years her junior. She finished her writing career between 1908 and 1925 with plays (His Wife’s Family, Backsliders, and Camilla States Her Case) that she refused to have listed on her official bibliography; even though they were of interest to prominent actresses, they had no commercial success. She died in Crawley, Sussex, on August 12, 1945. (See also “A NOCTURNE.”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Egerton, George. Discords. London: Virago, 1983. ———. Keynotes. London: Virago, 1983. Stubbs, Patricia. Women and Fiction: Feminism and the Novel 1880–1920. Brighton: Harvester, 1979. Sarah Maier

ELIOT, GEORGE (MARY ANN EVANS) (1818–1880) George Eliot grew up in the rural country of Warwickshire, near the Midlands town of Coventry, the daughter of an estate manager. Formidably intelligent, she acquired a profound education in languages, philosophy, theology, and science and became the most intellectual British novelist of the 19th century and one of the most highly regarded. A woman of great mental and personal courage, she abandoned traditional religious faith, moved in progressive intellectual and political circles, and lived with a man, George Henry Lewes, with whom she was not married, for 24 years. Famous, above all, for her complex and long novels of social and psychological life— such as Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Middlemarch (1872), and Daniel Deronda (1876)—she also wrote short fiction, which plays an important, if secondary, role in her output. Eliot’s first pieces of extended fiction were three long short stories, “The SAD FORTUNES OF THE REVEREND AMOS BARTON,” “Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story,” and “JANET’S REPENTANCE,” first published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1857 and later published in book form by Blackwood in 1858. The setting of all three stories is typical of Eliot’s fiction—the rural English Midlands 30 to 60 years before the texts’ time of publication. Also typical are the omniscient, third-person narrators, who intervene to comment on action and character. These realist stories present a wide social range of characters, and the narrator constantly points to the interrelationship of personal development and the social and economic circumstances of characters’ environments. The action depicted is melancholy. Amos Barton is a study in misplaced and destructive idealism, Mr. Gilfil’s love for Caterina can not save her, and “Janet’s Repentance” is a vivid depiction of drunkenness and domestic violence. Wisdom comes only through loss and suffering, although others may learn from the protagonists’ examples. The short novel Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe (1861) has a similar place and time setting to that of Scenes of Clerical Life. Like all of Eliot’s fiction, it is a bitter critique of selfishness and materialism. Silas is a stranger in the village of Raveloe (Eliot frequently writes about outsiders) who, embittered by his rela-


tionships with human beings inside and outside the village, becomes a miser, obsessed with the gold he earns and hoards. The melodramatic plot involves the theft of his money and the appearance in his home of a child, Eppie, whom he adopts and whose golden hair replaces the stolen money. Silas learns humanity through the girl and becomes part of the community. The short novel demonstrates Eliot’s interest in and high regard for socially lowly life. Eliot published two further short stories, “The LIFTED VEIL” (1859) and “BROTHER JACOB” (1864), both of which are much less known than her other works. “The Lifted Veil” has marked gothic elements and echoes Edgar Allan Poe’s and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fiction. Latimer, the protagonist, discovers that he has the powers of foreseeing events and of seeing into the minds of those who surround him. Neither of these gifts are viewed positively: The visions of the future are sad, and the gift of knowing people’s thoughts is a curse. This is ironic, given the stress that Eliot places elsewhere on the moral value of an ability to understand others. Bertha, Latimer’s wife, is a version of the beautiful egoistic women that recur throughout Eliot’s work, Hetty Sorrel, Rosamond Vincy, and Gwendolen Harleth, but the supernatural and gothic elements are unusual in her fiction. “Brother Jacob” is a comic moral fable, in which the egoist David Faux is made to pay for his crimes by his mentally subnormal brother.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Eliot, George. The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob. London: Penguin, 2001. ———. Scenes of Clerical Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Levine, George, ed. Cambridge Companion to George Eliot. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. McDonagh, Josephine. George Eliot. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1999. Nestor, Pauline. George Eliot. London: Palgrave, 2002. David Malcolm

ELPHINSTONE, MARGARET (1948– ) Born in Kent, Margaret Elphinstone spent her first 10 years in Kent, Sussex, and Somerset. She moved to Scotland in 1970 to study at the University of Glasgow. Her first story, “Spinning the Green,” published in Dis-

patches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind (1985), is a pastiche based on a number of traditional fairy tales, particularly Beauty and the Beast. The story suggests an environmentalist agenda, as the Beast is a collective name for a group of women who are reminiscent of the Greenham Common women who mounted a long campaign against nuclear weapons in the 1980s, in which Elphinstone took part, and who lived outdoors on the land surrounding an air force base. In the story the women are determined to protect nature from the risks of permanent damage caused by pollution; they keep “spinning the green,” an action evocative both of the fairyland atmosphere and the ecological agenda at the core of the story. In the 1980s and 1990s, Elphinstone’s interest in environmental matters inspired two gardening handbooks: The Holistic Gardener (1987), coauthored with J. Langley, and Organic Gardening (1990). Her early novels, The Incomer (1987) and A Sparrow’s Flight (1989), also belong to this phase. Folk tradition (the use of magic, references to witchcraft, tarot imagery) and science fiction (the environmentalist catastrophe, the future dystopian setting of the stories) merge in these novels. Her collection of stories An APPLE FROM A TREE (1991) follows the same path. The stories all disclose environmental concerns, often filtered through an encounter with an otherworldly creature. This happens in the first story, significantly titled “The Green Man” which deals with an art teacher, Sara, and her magical adventure with Lin, a “green man.” Similar magicalrealist experiences are shared by other human protagonists of Elphinstone’s stories, including Alison and her alter-ego Nosila in the title story of the collection. Two related stories, “Conditions of Employment” and especially “The Cold Well”—inspired by a visit to Sellafield nuclear station—reinstate Elphinstone’s involvement in the peace movements and in ecological issues. Since the publication of the collection, Elphinstone has abandoned fantasy mostly in favor of historical fiction, beginning with Islanders (1994), set in 12th-century Shetland, which was followed by The Sea Road (2000)—winner of the Scottish Arts Council Book Award in 2001—set in 11th-century Greenland and Vinland. Both stories reveal Elphinstone’s interest in Scandinavian lore, a field Elphinstone started to


explore from 1972 to 1980, during the years she spent working as a librarian and volunteering for an archeological expedition in Shetland. An imaginary island is the setting for Hy Brasil (2002), a novel cast in the utopian genre with a hint of mystery. Elphinstone’s next novels marked a return to historical fiction: Voyageurs (2003), short-listed for the 2005 Great Lakes Book Award, explores Native American culture through the eyes of a Quaker traveling across the Canadian border during the 1812 war with the United States. Gato (2005), a novella written in collaboration with the Highland Adult Literacy Education and set in the Middle Ages, is the story of a child raised in a mill; the plot involves the miller, his wife, a Spanish Friar, and his cat. Her novel Light (2006) explores life on a small island off the Isle of Man in the first half of the 19th century. Margaret Elphinstone is also the author of articles on Scottish women’s writing and is professor of writing at Strathclyde University.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Elphinstone, Margaret. “Spinning the Green.” In Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Minds, edited by Jen Green and Sarah Lefanu, 15–26. London: The Women’s Press, 1985. ———. An Apple from a Tree and Other Visions. London: The Women’s Press, 1991. ———. Gato. Dingwall: Sandstone Vista Series, 2005. Gifford, Douglas. “Contemporary Fiction II: Seven Writers in Scotland.” In A History of Scottish Women’s Writing, edited by Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan, 604– 629. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. McGillivray, Alan. “Interview with Margaret Elphinstone,” Laverock 1 (1995): 29–38. Monica Germana

“END OF HER JOURNEY, THE” LUCY CLIFFORD (1887) “The End of Her Journey,” by LUCY CLIFFORD was initially published in two installments in the monthly magazine Temple Bar (June–July 1887). The story was topical, appearing at a time when newspapers were hotly debating the “marriage question.” It opens by detailing the seemingly uneventful life of Mildred Archerson, wife of an affable and popular barrister, Edward (“Teddy”). Teddy Archerson is a

familiar type, the sociable but morally lightweight man whom everybody likes. Neglected by Teddy and barely noticed by their acquaintances, Mildred lives a lonely and monotonous existence in London, longing for her husband to spend time with her. The story is told mostly from Mildred’s perspective, although we do get some idea of the sense of boredom she inspires in her husband. To all appearances Mildred is dull and charmless. Yet her silence masks a deep unhappiness; “[D]eaf and dumb the woman’s soul lived within its prison, unconsciously beating against its bars, longing to escape, wondering and weeping at its own limits, its own blindness, its own incapacity, having no power at all except to suffer without seeing the reason of it, or knowing any remedy” (197). While technically a free woman, Mildred seems to inhabit a kind of subterranean existence, viewed as irredeemably marginal by everyone around her. As spectacle of imprisonment and frustrated sexuality, Clifford’s portrait of a seemingly ordinary woman is both complex and poignant. Partly this is because her heroine cannot voice what she feels. Generically “The End of Her Journey” can be labeled sensation fiction and invites comparison with the kind of literature made famous by such writers as WILKIE COLLINS, MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON, and ELLEN WOOD in the 1860s and 1870s. The sensation novel was a “novel with a secret,” which brought adultery, bigamy, illegitimacy, suicide, and murder into the confines of the respectable middle- or upper-class drawing room. In “The End of Her Journey,” Mildred’s world is quite literally destroyed when an acquaintance tells her that Teddy has been seen at Clapham Junction railway station with another woman. Soon afterward she spots a list of charitable donations in the newspaper, including one from a “Mrs. Edward Archerson,” and this makes her more curious. Exhibiting unexpected determination, she assumes the disguise of a collector for charity and explores the suburban streets of Clapham. Eventually she finds herself in a small house with Teddy’s photo in the drawing room, and then she comes face to face with her husband’s illegitimate second family—a young woman and a small boy. The true reason behind Teddy’s long absences is made blindingly obvious. The discovery is a moment of personal


cataclysm for Mildred, reminding her of what she lacks. But it is also apparent that she has undergone an awakening. Silently she goes back home, saying nothing as to her real identity. She does not confront her husband, and when he suggests that she go on a cruise for the sake of her health, Mildred agrees, accepting Teddy’s excuses for not accompanying her. She goes alone, committing suicide on the voyage. The conclusion of the story shows Teddy and his new family happy in their pretty new home. Only when his new wife draws a picture of the mysterious woman who visited her and the reason for Mildred’s death becomes clear is Teddy forced finally to realize the horror of his own moral decay; he is a man whose selfishness prompted his wife to throw herself overboard so that he might be free. The ending of this story is like other works by Clifford in that it stresses the power of the past to haunt the present. But throughout, Clifford is also interested in the underside of domesticity, in female lives lived in a male-dominated society and the callousness and victimization this may involve. Mildred is in thrall to old-fashioned ideas, ideas that have in truth left her lonely and unfulfilled. While Clifford does not offer an explicit a feminist critique of her society in the way that, for example, outspoken NEW WOMAN writers of the 1890s such as GEORGE EGERTON or Mona Caird do, there is no doubt about Teddy’s weakness as a man and a husband. At the same time, Mildred’s discovery prompts a move from passivity to activity; she begins to take matters into her own hands, striving to effect a scheme of what she regards as her personal destiny. Just how we interpret the news of Mildred’s suicide is unclear. Is it an act of self-assertion? An act of courage? Or is it a pyrrhic victory? After all, Mildred can get Teddy’s attention only by obliterating herself.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chisholm, Monty. Such Silver Currents: The Story of William and Lucy Clifford, 1845–1929. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2002. Devine Jump, Harriet, ed. Nineteenth-Century Short Stories by Women: A Routledge Anthology. London: Routledge, 1998. Andrew Maunder


AND JACKIE GAY (2001) Since the devolution of power to Scot-

land and Wales at the end of the 1990s, England has been questioning its own identity and offering a different image from that of the overruling power it projected in the past, presenting instead a local, approachable, and contradictory picture. England Calling, a dense and vibrant volume of short stories, is a translation into fiction of that introspective attitude. The editors Julia Bell and Jackie Gay had previously compiled the anthology Hard Shoulder (1999), in which 16 writers each produced a story about Birmingham. The success of this venture in regional writing led them to carry out the more ambitious project of England Calling, in which the country as a whole could be represented. As the editors state in the introduction, at the beginning of the 21st century, England is undergoing a process of change, and they simply want to illustrate this mutation: “These writers are not only telling stories of the landscapes of England, but peeling back the layers of Englishness in the process—Englishness as it is now: multicultural, messy, survivalist” (xi). The main idea behind the project, therefore, is fiction as a contribution to self-knowledge or, to paraphrase Patricia Waugh, “reading the age through its imaginative literature” (2). The 24 contributors to this volume (editors included) come from every corner of England. The book begins with a vigorous representation from the north, followed by stories from different parts of the Midlands, the east coast, London, and the home counties, the south and the southwest. Some of the contributors were already well-established writers at the time of the book’s launch, including columnist Julie Burchill, spoken-word performer Joolz Denby, and veteran novelist Jane Rogers, but many were still in the first stages of their literary careers. The University of East Anglia, where Julia Bell teaches creative writing, appears to be the breeding ground of a significant number of the writers in this collection. In fact, the anthology has been criticized for being too strongly influenced by techniques taught in creative writing courses (Blincoe). In any case, what the authors of England Calling see in this restless country are scenes of an urban, modern,


and highly commercialized society where history is now called heritage tourism. City centers have been redeveloped to erase their dirty past. The same colorless shopping centers replace old markets everywhere. Affluent young professionals line up to get cappuccinos in recently opened Starbucks in the main streets of similar towns: “Carshalton could look exactly the same as Croydon, Sutton, Kingston, Ashford and Woking” (207). The stories in this collection accurately reflect the state of the country at the start of the new millennium; a blunt pragmatism has invaded people’s consciences, shopping is the new religion, and old ideals have vanished in the air: “Now, I wonder why we cared so much,” says one story’s protagonist, who once joined Greenham Common Women’s Camp to protest U.S. missiles being based in the country: “Everybody wants an ecstasy lifestyle” (150). Although there are descriptions of middle-class interiors, suburban comfort, and hidden neuroses, the real energy in the anthology comes from the outcasts, the no-hopers, people living on the dole, confused old hippies, or kids from street gangs. The local pub, usually in the middle of an urban wasteland, or the block of flats in a council estate are therefore frequent settings. The longing for some kind of spirituality, whether religious or other, is another recurrent feature in the collection. Perhaps to compensate for the absence of a sense of community in their lives, the characters search for meaning everywhere: in a bleeding statue, in a newspaper enterprise doomed to failure, or in a game of chess with an old man. Whether this should be interpreted in terms of postmodern nostalgia (and its subsequent paralysis) is another matter.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bell, Julia, and Jackie Gay, eds. Hard Shoulder. Birmingham: Tindal Street Press, 1999. ———. England Calling. 2001. London: Phoenix, 2002. Blincoe, Nicholas. “Left with the Dregs,” New Statesman (July 16, 2001). Available online. URL: http://www. Accessed July 4, 2006. Waugh, Patricia. Harvest of the Sixties. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. José Francisco Fernández

“ENGLISHMAN’S HOME, AN” EVELYN WAUGH (1938) This story, collected in Work Suspended and Other Stories (1943), demonstrates not only Waugh’s comic genius but also his penetrating social criticism of English life in the period between World Wars I and II. Mr. Beverley Metcalfe has retired to the village of Much Malcock, where he and his wife have settled into what they expect will be a comfortable existence of gardening, leisure, and civic responsibility among the gentry of the English countryside. A lifelong city dweller, Metcalfe is woefully unfamiliar with the customs of country life. He congratulates himself for having purchased only a small acreage surrounding his new retreat. Metcalfe’s new existence is threatened when another outsider arrives in the village and purchases an adjoining plot of land with plans to establish a new scientific-industrial complex that will destroy not just Metcalfe’s new lifestyle but the comfort and property values of his neighbors as well. In a series of conversations and meetings with his neighbors, Metcalfe discovers that the recently sold land has traditionally been regarded as belonging to his own estate. Angered at his failure to secure the now-threatened property in the first place, Metcalfe’s neighbors refuse to assist him in a joint effort to buy back the property. This modern fable of the city mouse transplanted to the country ends with a delightful reversal that underscores the changing conditions of English country life in the last years before the outbreak of World War II. As in much of Waugh’s fiction, the satirical force of the story is conveyed through the rich characterization of Metcalfe and his neighbors at Much Malcock. Beverley Metcalfe is a former cotton trader from Alexandria, a past president of the British Chamber of Commerce, and by far the wealthiest of the denizens of Much Malcock. However, Metcalfe’s wealth and his pride in his own business acumen fail him in his efforts to secure his own lifestyle and the fellowship of his neighbors. Lady Peabury of Much Malcock House is a semireclusive widow who devotes her time to the decadent practice of reading novels before noon and raising terriers. Colonel Hodge, who lives at Much Malcock Manor, is the leading patron of the local Boy Scouts and a vociferous critic of the Bolshevik tendencies of the village parson. Mr. and Mrs. Hornbean, who occupy the lowest


social stratum of the village’s upper crust, inhabit the Old Mill, where they devote themselves to the bohemian pleasures of pottery, gardening, vegetarianism, and a running critique of rampant modern capitalism. Together, these good citizens of Much Malcock represent the changing landscape of English rural life between the wars. They struggle to maintain the traditional, agricultural, paternalistic culture of an England that is in the midst of modernization. The source of the threat to their way of life, the outsider who threatens their idylls with his blueprints for an industrial complex in the midst of their pastures and vistas, proves in the end a confidence man whose schemes are motivated by his desperate need to raise funds in order to pay the taxes on his own country estate. After finally purchasing the infamous property in question at several times its value, Metcalfe donates the property to the Boy Scouts for their use as a camp and unveils plans to build them a new lodge for their meetings. Although he proves a poor excuse for a supposedly skilled businessman, Metcalfe finds himself at the story’s conclusion as the new chief philanthropist in the village of Much Malcock.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Stannard, Martin. Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years, 1903– 1939. New York: Norton, 1986. Waugh, Evelyn. The Complete Stories. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998. Tony Rafalowski

“ENIGMA, THE” JOHN FOWLES (1974) “The Enigma” is one of five short stories included in the collection The EBONY TOWER. JOHN FOWLES’s working title for the collection was Variations; although he was convinced by his publisher to discard the original title, the stories constitute variations in more than one sense. They recapitulate and prefigure the themes of Fowles’s novels, offer variations on narrative techniques and generic conventions, and playfully subvert customary distinctions between fiction and reality. All of these aspects can be seen in “The Enigma.” The title refers to a quasi detective mystery: the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of John Marcus Fielding, a 57-year old, rich, happily married Tory member

of Parliament. After some discreet and futile investigations led by Fielding’s wife, the police are approached and a young detective, Michael Jennings, is assigned the case. Jennings questions Fielding’s family members, friends, colleagues, and political rivals. All he receives are variations, competing versions of the man’s personality, motives, and possible whereabouts. The more he questions, the less he knows. As Fielding has never been a major political figure, and as the investigation into his disappearance yields no results, the police lose interest in the case. The official inquiry gradually dwindles, and the young investigator’s professional interest in the (potentially) criminal mystery gives way to his passionate interest in another kind of mystery. He falls in love with Isobel, Fielding’s son’s girlfriend, and comes to realize that “the tender pragmatisms of flesh have poetries no enigma, human or divine, can diminish or demean” (247). “The Enigma” anticipates the major themes and narrative strategies of Fowles’s later novels: the endorsement of freedom as the highest human good; the view of life as an ultimate mystery that defies all attempts at rational explanation; the refusal of closure, suggesting the impossibility of resolving the mystery of human existence; female characters as existential heroines triggering the male protagonist’s awakening; a metafictional element of a story-within-a-story, ironically and playfully undermining the customary distinction between fiction and reality. The notion of freedom is explored on several levels. In the fictional world, none of the characters (but Isobel) is free. They are all scripted by their social roles. The most conventional figure is Fielding’s wife, for whom the fear of scandal overrides the concern for her husband. The omniscient narrator describes her as a woman who believes that “what one did was never so reprehensible as letting it be generally known” (196); the young investigating sergeant comes to see her as “a woman welded to her role in life and her social status” (222). Fielding’s son, Peter, is torn between his criticism of his parents’ conformism and his enjoyment of its benefits. Fielding, the missing man, seems to be the least free character; this lack of freedom, his total subservience to his public persona, is one of the hypothetical reasons for his absconding and potential suicide.


Freedom is a central notion in existentialist thought, and John Fowles has often been considered an existentialist writer (although he repudiated this classification late in life). In existentialist philosophy, existence precedes essence: Humans do not have an essential, innate nature but create themselves and their fate through their actions, and principally through interactions with other human beings. The only character in the story representing this kind of freedom is Peter’s girlfriend, Isobel. As noted by most critics, Isobel is cast in the mold of Fowles’s typical female protagonists—independent, free, full of life. In his collection of essays, Wormholes, Fowles acknowledges, “The female characters in my books tend to dominate the male ones. I see man as a kind of artifice, and woman as a kind of reality. The one is a cold idea, the other is a warm fact” (23). From a different (and playfully ironic) perspective, the story celebrates not only the male protagonists’ (Fielding, Jennings) liberation from the shackles of duty and convention, but also the fictional characters’ emancipation from the tyranny of their author. John Marcus Fielding is a rebel character who walks out on his creator. In the famous chapter 13 of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Fowles professes his belief that “it is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live” (81). The fictional characters’ freedom to evolve independently of the novelist’s plot entails the readers’ freedom to supply the ending to this plot. Therefore, the mystery of Fielding’s disappearance has no closure; each reader is left to supply his or her own conjectures regarding Fielding’s motivation and his fate. “The kind of writing I have always admired,” admits Fowles, “makes reading active too—the book reads the reader, as radar reads the unknown” (Wormholes, 11). Mystery is the narrative kernel of the DETECTIVE story, and “The Enigma” is framed as a detective story. Traditional detective fiction is a genre that foregrounds the pursuit of knowledge. It proceeds from a twofold assumption: Truth exists, and it can be discovered by the inquiring mind. But in “The Enigma” the opposite is the case. The more the young sergeant inquires, the less he knows. The impossibility of knowledge is refracted from the characters to the reader, transforming “The Enigma” into a paradigm

of the postmodern metaphysical detective story, which, in the words of Patricia Merivale and Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, “ask[s] questions about mysteries of being and knowing [that] transcend the mere machinations of the mystery plot” (2). “The Enigma” is distinctly postmodern in two other respects, its metafictional concern and the blurring of distinctions between reality and fiction. Both are suggested in the final conversation between Isobel and Jennings. The young girl, who is a writer, offers her own theory of Fielding’s disappearance and teases the investigator: “Let’s pretend everything to do with the Fieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel. A detective story. Yes? Somewhere there is someone writing us, we are not real” (236). Isobel’s hypothesis offers a playfully ironic instance of metafiction, defined by Patricia Waugh as “fictional writing which . . . draws attention to its status as an artefact, in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality” (2). These questions, conveying the characters’ concern about their ontological status, are refracted from the fictional world to the world of the reader, who begins to wonder whether he also, like Fielding, Jennings, and Isobel, has not been scripted by a master novelist.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Fowles, John. The Ebony Tower. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1999. ———. The French Lieutenant’s Woman. New York; Barnes and Noble, 1998. ———. Wormholes. London: Vintage, 1999. Merivale, Patricia, and Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, eds. Detecting Texts: The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. Waugh, Patricia. Metafiction. London: Routledge, 2001. Ilana Shiloh

“ENOCH’S TWO LETTERS” ALAN SILLI(1973) “Enoch’s Two Letters,” included in the volume of short-stories Men, Women and Children (1973), constitutes an excellent first insight into the universe of ALAN SILLITOE. Among the nine stories in the collection, it is perhaps the one that has reached the widest and most enduring popularity.



“Enoch’s Two Letters” is an example of the author’s affinity with the helpless. It is primarily concerned with the problems of communication. Enoch is an eight-year-old boy. His parents’ marriage is in crisis, and both his mother and his father decide to leave the other, coincidentally on the same day. As a consequence, when Enoch returns from school he finds an empty house with not even a note from his parents. Enoch does not seem to understand exactly what has happened, and the remainder of the story focuses on the development of the child’s feelings as he slowly becomes conscious of his circumstances. He makes his way to grandmother’s house, where two letters arrive, from the mother to the father and vice versa, to confirm Enoch’s abandonment. Sillitoe’s straightforward, apparently simple style; the strong interest that he shows in the existential dilemmas of life; and the way he reveals a deeper concern with brutality or apathy when characters face difficulties might be said to bring him close to the works of the existentialists, including authors such as JeanPaul Sartre and Albert Camus. Although the collection met with a mixed critical response, most of it criticizing the improbability of the parents’ departure, the story has always found favor with readers. Men, Women and Children also includes a sequel to the story, “The End of Enoch?,” in which Sillitoe reveals the protagonist’s eventual fate.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Sillitoe, Alan. Men, Women and Children. London: W. H. Allen, 1973. Rafael R. Pleguezuelos

“EPISODE, AN” W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1947) Appearing in Creatures of Circumstance (1947), the last collection of short stories to be published in W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM’s lifetime, “An Episode” hinges on a twist. Far from revealing psychological abnormality, however, “An Episode” depicts a painfully human response to a romantic relationship. Told as a story-within-a-story, “An Episode” is narrated in two voices. In the frame story, the unnamed narrator describes his friend Ned Preston, a bachelor who is unable to hold a job because of his tuberculosis.

He instead volunteers with prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs. At a dinner party, Preston tells the sad story of Fred Manson, a postal worker who fell in love with a young middle-class woman, Grace Carter. Her father, who began as an errand boy, owns a draper’s shop and has four assistants working beneath him; Grace’s mother is a former servant. The class issues brought to the fore in this story indicate Maugham’s awareness of the struggles of the working classes to move up the social ladder and their fears that their offspring will reject their effort. Grace’s parents are determined that Grace should marry a gentleman, but she rejects their arguments, remaining faithful to Fred even after he is convicted of postal fraud. That he stole money in order to maintain her middleclass lifestyle is accepted by Grace as proof of his love. The reader of “An Episode” would expect the climax to stem from the couple’s social inequalities. Maugham, however, is only providing a smokescreen for the story’s true emotional center. Grace and Fred remain committed to each other during his time in prison until two weeks before Fred’s release, when he breaks off their engagement. His reason is that he has thought about Grace so much during his incarceration that he is thoroughly bored with her. The party guests laugh at this conclusion, so Preston refrains from telling them the coda, which only the narrator learns: that Grace, upon learning of Fred’s decision, calmly states that there is nothing more to do but put her head in the gas oven. The final sentence of the story is Preston’s laconic statement: “And she did.” Maugham makes no major developments as a storyteller with this tale, and unlike other stories in Creatures of Circumstance, “An Episode” lacks the exotic setting for which he became so well known. In his introduction to the fourth volume of his Collected Short Stories, Maugham states that he writes about people who, through some accident, “have been involved in unusual contingencies.” Here, the contingency is something so tragic and yet simultaneously so ludicrous that the deep poignancy of “An Episode” is indeed difficult not to respond to with laughter.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Archer, Stanley. W. Somerset Maugham: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1993.


Curtis, Anthony, and John Whitehead, eds. W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage. London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987. Maugham, W. Somerset. Collected Short Stories. Vol. 4. London: Vintage, 2002. ———. Creatures of Circumstance. London: William Heinemann, 1947. Tracey Rosenberg

“ETERNAL MOMENT, THE” E. M. FORSTER (1928) Appearing in the collection The Eternal Moment and Other Stories, “The Eternal Moment” falls into the pattern set by E. M. FORSTER’s other “conversion” tales featuring the English aboard. Outwardly the story is a simple one: Miss Raby, a middle-aged novelist, tries to take stock of her life and the decisions she has made in it by returning after 20 years to the Alpine village of Vorta, a place she has immortalized in her most successful novel, “The Eternal Moment.” Thanks to the publicity she has given the village through her book, it has become a fashionable and prosperous tourist resort. Horrified by the crass commercialization that has taken place, and blaming herself for what she sees as the spiritual degeneration of the village’s inhabitants, Miss Raby seeks sanctuary at rustic inn where she stayed on her first visit. Seeking to make some kind of atonement, she decides to make contact with Feo, a porter who, 20-years earlier, had announced his love for her on the mountainside, causing her to flee panicstricken and offended. Feo, however, is no longer the handsome, upright man Miss Raby pictures in her mind. Now he is a bloated, cynical slob who revels in the newfound wealth that the tourists bring to the village and makes sure he gets his fill. Miss Raby decides that this loss of native simplicity and natural honor is also her fault. She reminds Feo of their last meeting, but this time it is Feo who panics, thinking he is being trapped. Realizing he is not, he then decides that this middle-aged woman is making a pass at him and winks meaningfully at her. This leering behavior upsets Miss Raby again, but sticking to her desire to make amends she offers to adopt one of Feo’s three children, her plan being that if she can remove him from the atmosphere of the village he will be spared the taint of its new vulgarity and he can be educated to share what she con-

siders her own refined spiritual values. Feo refuses the offer, worried that his wife would read too much into the relationship between himself and this unmarried Englishwoman. Miss Raby initially feels insulted, but she comes to believe that her encounters with Feo have expanded her vision of life—a sentiment similar to that propounded in Forster’s novels Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and A Room with a View (1908). Part of the interest of this particular story lies in the fact that it is questionable whether Miss Raby has come to any deeper understanding. She is as blinkered and inward-looking as she ever was; she has no real desire to meet with real life and has no desire to bear a child of her own (seeing this as a job for lower-class women, not educated ones); her moral gesture to Feo is just that—a gesture. Thus the story’s title appears powerfully allusive, but it may also be ironic. Miss Raby will remember the moment, but it is doubtful that it will prompt her to change her philosophy of life or that she is any more clear-sighted.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Forster, E. M. The Eternal Moment and Other Stories. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1928. Andrew Maunder


This muchanthologized short story by JAMES JOYCE was first published in The Irish Homestead on September 10, 1904, and later became part of his famous collection Dubliners (1917). In contrast to the three stories of childhood that precede it, “Eveline” opens with the 19-year-old young woman of the title reminiscing about her childhood. She watches with her face pressed against the window as people pass by outside, and she recalls the field in which she used to play with other children before her father would hunt them down with his blackthorn stick. Even with this image of brutality, Eveline thinks that her father “was not so bad then,” when her mother was still alive. Now her siblings have grown up, and their childhood friends have left Ireland or died, and Eveline muses that she will soon leave home as well. The knowledge that she will leave soon causes her to examine her surroundings critically. She notes the yellowed picture of an unknown priest and


the familiar objects covered in dust. She wonders if leaving home is wise. At home at least she has food, shelter, and the people she has always known. She wonders what will be said about her when it is discovered that she ran away with a man. She imagines what life will be like in her new home in a distant country when she is married. When she is married, she thinks, people will treat her with respect, not like her mother was treated. She feels threatened by her father’s violence, which has given her heart palpitations. Only lately has he begun to threaten her, saying what he would do to her if not for her dead mother’s sake, whereas when she was younger he never went after her because she was a girl. Now she is left alone in the house with him, and the weekly struggles to get money from him for the keeping of the house are beginning to wear on her. She keeps his house in addition to working as a nanny for two children, and while recognizing that it is a hard life, she wonders if she should leave it to journey with Frank to Buenos Aires, where she will become his wife. She met Frank as he was standing outside his lodging house, and she finds herself enraptured by his tales of faraway places and adventures on ships. Her father forbade the affair upon learning that Frank was a sailor. Eveline thinks of her father’s kindness when she was sick and of her happy times with him when her mother was alive. From outside the window comes the song from a street organ, and it recalls to her the promise she made to her mother to keep the home together. Her mother’s pitiful life and death terrify Eveline as she thinks of her mother’s last cry, “Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun!” This cry has been read as a Gaelic phrase meaning either “the end of pleasure is pain” or “the end of song is raving madness.” Resolving that she must escape and that she has a right to happiness, she decides that she will leave with Frank. Eveline holds Frank’s hand at the station, feeling the crowd about her and catching sight of the great dark mass of the boat. She prays for guidance and wonders if she can back out after all that Frank has done for her. The boat’s whistle startles her, and she feels Frank pulling her, urging her to come with him. Silently, Eveline grabs the railing and refuses to let go. Frank is carried along by the crowd, and Eveline, “passive, like

a helpless animal,” refuses him any sign of recognition or farewell. As in “A LITTLE CLOUD,” the protagonist feels that freedom can be achieved only through exile, a belief also adopted by Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914). Freedom for Eveline appears even more complicated because she is a woman and must choose not whether to be a solitary exile but whether to remain in her father’s house or travel abroad with Frank. She is caught between the possible husband and the probable abusive father. A strong Catholic sensibility and the maternal voice are among the forces that pull Eveline from the waiting ship. The face of the unknown priest that hangs on the wall of her home as well as the deathbed promise to her mother form twin nets with which Joyce himself was all too familiar. Eveline’s decision to stay may also be read as a choice for community, however ruptured, over isolation in a strange country. Eveline’s home, although certainly not idealized, stands in stark contrast to Frank’s lodging house, a temporary abode. Her promise to her mother to hold the home together suggests the hope of unity and stability. Her mother’s dying words haunt the text, and Eveline ultimately turns against pleasure and song, which her mother warns lead to pain and madness. Eveline has traditionally been read as a character who fails to take advantage of her chance to escape. Given the opportunity to leave an abusive father and limited economic potential, Eveline is unable to leave Ireland’s shores. Bound by her promise to her mother, she cannot leave even when a sailor has a home waiting for her in Buenos Aires. However, critics such as Hugh Kenner and Katherine Mullin have argued that Eveline is wise to let Frank leave without her. Kenner points out the undercurrent of sexual danger that runs throughout the story and argues that if Eveline left with Frank, she would most likely be seduced and abandoned in England. Mullin points out that 1889 saw a boom in migration to Argentina, but that trend had completely died out by 1904, largely because of Argentina’s reputation as a land of betrayal, exploitation, and disappointment. Purity tracts of the 1880s told stories of girls lured from Ireland by the promise of marriage and sold into the white slave trade, and


such stories captivated the public imagination. Joyce may have had such stories in mind as he was composing “Eveline,” especially since at the same time he was trying to convince Nora to leave Ireland with him. The story underscores the particularly vexed and sexually precarious position of women leaving Ireland.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Joyce, James. Dubliners: Text, Criticism, and Notes. Edited by Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz. New York: Penguin USA, 1996. Kenner, Hugh. Joyce’s Voices. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. Mullin, Katherine. “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina: ‘Eveline’ and the Seductions of Emigration Propaganda.” In Semicolonial Joyce, edited and with an introduction by Derek Attridge and Marjorie Howes, 193–208. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Torchiana, Donald T. Backgrounds for Joyce’s Dubliners. Boston: Allen & Unwin. 1986. Julieann Ulin

“EVELINE’S VISITANT” MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON (1867) “Eveline’s Visitant” first appeared in Belgravia, the magazine MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON (1835–1915) edited, in January 1867. In a change of direction for Braddon—who usually wrote about sensational happenings in contemporary Britain—the action takes place in early 18th-century France. The two protagonists are cousins, André and Hector de Brissac, who quarrel about a woman. Hector, the “rough . . . ill-mannered boor,” strikes André, the “favourite,” who is seriously insulted and wants to avenge this “brutal outrage” through a duel. André’s last words before death are, “It is my will to haunt you when I am dead.” André is buried in the old family vault, and Hector inherits the château and its wealth. After some months, Hector meets Eveline and marries her, but their blissful life is shattered by the recurring presence of a strange man who seems to haunt Eveline. In fact, it is the ghost of André, carrying out his oath by haunting Eveline until she dies. This short story epitomizes Braddon’s skillful writing of chilling sensational stories. Her narrative uses three different time frames: the story time (the duel and its consequences in the past), the telling time

(Hector’s backward glance cast on his own past life), and the reading time, with several ominous signs scattered in the narrative to confirm to the reader that this is a ghost story. The action opens in a strange atmosphere at dawn; there is a ghost, silent and invisible but with the power to intrude into impenetrable places closed by locked gates and surrounded by a “moat ten feet wide and full of water.” In fact, the ghost is “no one” but still haunts the text as a phantom. Ironically, the hunting costume André was wearing the day of the duel becomes a haunting costume for Eveline. The story also highlights Braddon’s treatment of women. They fall into two categories: the wicked ones and the angels. The former (“beautiful vipers”), responsible for the duel between the men, are put in opposition to the angels, embodied by Eveline Duchatel. The latter is submissive and pure; she personifies the ideal woman, the enlightening source of life for Hector. Under her influence, his life, once characterized by loneliness, “grew bright.” But this blissful existence does not last since the story quickly turns to Eveline’s inexorable physical and mental degradation. It is precisely on this point that Braddon’s story is highly ambivalent, a kind of constant ironic undermining of human powerlessness in the face of supernatural usurpation. The physician cannot cure Eveline and shares her husband’s utter inability to protect her. The husband’s protective role is nullified further when Eveline dies. On her deathbed, “he was by her side,” “he” standing not for the husband but for the ghost as if he had taken Hector’s place in Eveline’s heart and mind. Ironically, the angel, Eveline, becomes another wicked woman, who confesses her sin to her husband before dying: She was fascinated by this phantom, her “phantasm.” The reader is left with old Hector’s ambivalent last question: “Was the fatality that overshadowed us any work of hers?” as if Hector’s ghost was not his responsibility but hers. Is not the title of the short story “Eveline’s Visitant”? Is she not the one haunted by this “shadowy form”? The unsettled end leaves the reader with a feeling of uneasiness as chilling as the presence of the ghost itself.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dalby, Richard, ed. The Cold Embrace and Other Ghost Stories. Ashcroft, British Columbia: Ash Tree Press, 2000. Marion Charret-Del Bove



BARNES (1995) First

published in the New Yorker and subsequently collected by JULIAN BARNES in CROSS CHANNEL, “Evermore” is the story of Miss Moss, an elderly woman who proofreads dictionaries and who for countless years has made an annual trip through France to visit World War I memorials, including the gravesite of her brother, Samuel M. Moss. The title of the story is derived from a phrase carved into many of the headstones and memorials she encounters during her journey: “Their name liveth for evermore.” As Miss Moss travels from one burial site to the next, from Thiepval to Maison Blanche to Sam’s resting place at Cabaret Rouge, she explains her understanding of what it means to grieve and shares her concerns for how the memory of the war and the soldiers’ sacrifice will be transferred to future generations. The plot of “Evermore” consists of minimal action, but underneath the subtle, omniscient narration, BARNES constructs a story rich in meaning and purpose. The basic structure of the story follows Miss Moss as she makes what may be her last journey to France, her last opportunity to honor her brother and those who died fighting in the war. As in much of Barnes’s works, a heavy use of factual details supports the story. Outlining the route she will take, the cities she will travel through, and the locations she will visit provides insight into Moss’s exacting character. As a proofreader, she is naturally drawn to the lists of soldiers’ names etched into the memorials, referring to them as “the official graffiti of death,” and she takes special interest in learning the numbers of casualties in specific battles. By including such specifics, the story generates a tone of gravity and loss that underscores Moss’s journey of grief. Commemorating her brother’s death becomes Moss’s defining character trait. She is “a connoisseur of grief” who believes the time spent at his gravesite is “the most vital of her life.” She is so consumed by her grief that she describes it as “a caliper, necessary and supporting; she could not imagine walking without it.” Over time, her remembrance of Sam changes: “[I]t became work, continuity; instead of anguish and glory, there was fierce unreasonableness, both about his death and her commemoration of it.” She is equally

concerned with the quality of the memory, and she worries that time will lessen the importance of the soldiers’ deaths. Just as the dictionary labels words “obsolete” or outdated, she fears the world will soon label World War I antiquated and trivial. Such observations expand the scope of the story to include questions of how a nation commemorates its dead and ensures the continuation of a national memory. Miss Moss wonders whether others will continue to remember the soldiers after she has died, whether “there was such a thing as collective memory, something more than the sum of individual memories.” She has hope that “those too young to have original knowledge could be given memory, could have it grafted on.” But having lived with her grief for many years, she knows too well how unlikely it is that the graves will be untouched and preserved for evermore. “What if memory-grafting did not work, or the memories themselves were deemed shameful?” she questions. “Then the great forgetting could begin, the fading into the landscape.” Her poignant lament serves as a cautionary warning of history’s slow amnesia and the certainty of death.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Barnes, Julian. Cross Channel. New York: Vintage, 1997. ———. “Evermore,” New Yorker, 13 November 1995, pp. 104–112. Cook, Bruce. “Julian Barnes’ Short Stories Explore EnglishFrench Relations,” Chicago Tribune, 21 April 1996, p. 3. Pierce, Peter. “Evermore: Stories of the Great War by Rudyard Kipling and Julian Barnes,” Critical Review 42 (2002): 65–71. Roberts, Ryan. Julian Barnes Website. Available online. URL: Accessed May 11, 2006. Ryan Roberts


Exhibitionism is TOBY LITT’s second collection of short stories, in which he moves away from the consumer culture of ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM and embarks on a deconstruction of sex, the masculine condition, and the minutiae of contemporary life. Litt still retains his fetishization of the body, which he cultivated in Adventures in Capitalism and employed so successfully in Corpsing (2000) and deadkidsongs (2001), but infuses it


with a sense of pulp, namely, a delightful fascination with authoritarian figures, eroticism, and violence. Playing on the mordant subtexts of everyday conversation and creating numerous female stereotypes, Toby Litt’s second collection is brutal and nasty but an important part of his literary oeuvre. “Mapmaking among the Middle-Classes” is an excruciating comedy of manners, focusing on the relationship among the self-concerned Josh; his weak, tearful and pregnant wife, Selina; and Ian, the embittered bachelor who is the real father of Josh’s prospective child. Ian’s recollection of the conception is “clogged in cobwebs of frozen vodka” (57); the act “had been overheard, although no one now admitted to eavesdropping” (65). Litt’s knowing use of the middle-class virtues and such titles as “In the Realm of the Sensitive” creates what is essentially a painful parody of polite society’s indiscretions. Story to Be Translated from English into French and Then Translated Back Again (without Reference to the Original) focuses on the sexual extremities of Edith and her lover Antoine. The main narrative involves Antoine’s seduction of a young female chemist, ice-blonde, who accuses him of “making pornography” (156), a word that “fascinates” her (156). Each part of the seduction is

interspersed with a flashback to Edith, alone and tied up, commenting on her desires for Antoine to indulge in greater extremities: “[S]ince when does a woman have to beg a man for pain?” (157). “Tourbusting 2” is a meditation on rituals, portraying a burgeoning rock musician, Brian, who feels compelled to return to the library where the dowdy Lindsay Wagner works. Lindsay, his band’s first and most loyal fan, recommends Strindberg for him to read and then disappears, leaving Brian to discover that her dilapidated home is a world away from the pseudointellectual image she created. “Alphabed” echoes IAN MCEWAN’s early short stories in its descriptions and exhibits the same sordid dirty realism as McEwan’s FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES (1975) and In Between the Sheets (1978). Each page is headed with a letter of the alphabet from A to Z, and the narratives can be read in any order. After endless scenes of sexual experimentation, the unnamed male, “he,” realizes “[t]hat this is the state they are themselves tending towards: deliquescence” (206).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Litt, Toby. Exhibitionism. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2002. Martin Colebrook



“FALL RIVER AXE MURDERS, THE” ANGELA CARTER (1981) “The Fall River Axe Murders” was first published in the London Review of Books in 1981 under the title “Mis-en-scene for Parricide”; it later appeared under its more familiar name in ANGELA CARTER’s 1985 short story collection, BLACK VENUS (Saints and Sinners in the United States). The story revisits the case of Lizzie Borden, whose legend is summed up by the gruesome children’s rhyme that serves as the story’s epigraph: “Lizzie Borden with an axe / Gave her father forty whacks. / When she saw what she had done / She gave her mother forty-one.” On August 4, 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts, Borden’s parents were bludgeoned to death in the family home by an unknown assailant. The 32-year-old Lizzie, the younger of the Bordens’ two daughters, was the prime suspect but was acquitted in 1893, and the case was never officially solved. Still, popular memory has clung to Lizzie Borden in the form of the axe-wielding caricature of the familiar rhyme. Carter’s account humanizes the caricature by inviting us to imagine the world of Lizzie Borden in the months and days leading up to the murderous events that the story stops just short of presenting. Carter places a heavy emphasis on the stifling atmosphere of the Borden home at the time of the killings—on the “dementing” summer heat of Fall River; on the heavy, hot and confining clothes deemed proper for women of Borden’s class regardless of the intense heat; and on the claustrophobic qualities of the Borden family home

itself, “a house without passages” whose narrow rooms “lead in and out of one another like a maze in a bad dream.” This close and confining atmosphere suggests the social and cultural circumstances of Lizzie Borden: a spinster condemned to lifelong residence in the home of her father and stepmother, a gentlewoman cut off from the society of her social equals because of the quirks of her father, who shuns “The Hill,” where Fall River’s other middle-class families reside. Carter creates a portrait of a woman imprisoned in her own mind-numbing, duty-bound, and joyless life. Carter employs the techniques of realistic narrative to complicate a story that has been reduced to the crude outlines of folk legend. She situates the Borden family within the carefully delineated social space of Fall River, reminding us of the town’s economic base, its class and gender divisions, and the Protestant ethos that informs every part of life there. Her narrator adopts the guise of an invisible intruder in the Borden household, recounting events as they unfold as though before our eyes, even slipping on occasion into the mind of Lizzie herself, but never providing more than a tantalizing glimpse of the mystery’s impenetrable center. However, Carter’s aim is not to present yet another in a long line of supposedly authoritative accounts of the Fall River murders. Working against these realistic qualities are the numerous reminders of the tricks and habits of storytellers, who transform events into narratives in part through distortion and omission. The story alludes to several fairy tales, those old, simple,



and familiar narratives that exert their shaping influence on new ones. Carter’s narrator also reminds us explicitly of the selective nature of historical narratives, introducing and then omitting an often-forgotten figure, John Vinnicum Morse, a visitor in the Borden household whose presence in the story would only diminish its “emblematic effect”—and so he is promptly erased, taking with him any claim of truth that might have been made for Carter’s often hyperrealistic narrative. Like many of Carter’s stories, “The Fall River Axe Murders” mingles elements of fiction and critical commentary. Carter’s narrator shifts between her narration of events and her direct addresses to the reader; the resulting is a story that is at the same time an analysis of earlier versions of the story and a sceptical interrogation of historical narratives in general.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carter, Angela. Black Venus. London: Chatto and Windus, 1985. Brian Patton


Does the father too want to commit suicide? Is the fish he has prepared for the supper also poisonous? While it would not be easy to identify the central theme of the “The Family Supper,” the relationship among the three characters who appear in the story—the widowed father, his son, and his college-going daughter—draws attention to generational conflict. There are also complex tensions informing the relations between the father, who not only has apparently lived in Japan all his life but is uneasy in a rapidly changing and modernized Japanese society, and his son, who has lived in the United States and who possibly had an American girlfriend. This theme reflects Ishiguro’s own position as a British citizen of Japanese origin who described himself in an interview as “neither very English” nor “very Japanese.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Barry, Lewis. Kazuo Ishiguro—Contemporary World Writers. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2000. Mason, Gregory. “An Interview with Kazuo Ishiguro,” Contemporary Literature 30 (1989): 335–346. Brinda Charry

(1982) One of Kazuo Ishiguro’s best-known short


stories, “A Family Supper” was first published in the journal Firebird in 1982. It has subsequently reappeared several times in journals and anthologies. Narrated in Ishiguro’s characteristic understated and quietly sophisticated style, the short story begins by describing the fatal outcome of consuming certain parts of the fugu fish. The reader is then told that the narrator’s mother died from fugu poisoning. The narrator, a young Japanese man who has apparently lived in California for a while, visits Japan two years after her death and is given details of the circumstances surrounding the death by his father. The story describes the complex tensions attendant on the family supper on the first day of his arrival. While the narrative avoids any obvious attempt to render the setting of the story “exotic,” references to ghosts, hara-kiri, and fugu itself impart the feel of a Japanese locale. The story raises several questions but leaves them unanswered and hints at a number of possibilities that it refrains from resolving—did the mother kill herself?

JAMES (1895) The narrator of “The Figure in the Carpet,” published in Cosmopolis in 1896, spends the tale trying to get a grip on the overarching design in the novels of his idol, Hugh Vereker, who dismisses the narrator’s laudatory review for its failure to understand the core of his work. The novelist believes critics have missed the grand design of his art, expressed in every element of his oeuvre, but the critic, seeing, cannot see. Vereker characterizes this design as the source of life, as something vital, but the commentator calls it a figure in a carpet, something static and graspable. Another novelist, Gwendolen Corvick Deane, learns the secret and uses it in her work, to the improvement of her art. She and her first husband die before the narrator can learn the secret. Both Vereker and the narrator are among HENRY JAMES’s characters who see themselves as artist-failures. Some critics regard the tale as an expression of James’s own sense that he was misunderstood and was, hence, a failure. In the tale, the narrator cannot fathom the


heart of Vereker’s work, nor can he appropriate its power, as Gwendolen Corvick Deane does. The relationship between artist/creator and reader/critic is important in the text. The metaphors for the informing principle of Vereker’s work suggest fundamental differences between an artist, whose work is shaped from and shapes life, and a critic, whose work defines and mummifies the words of others. The piece also suggests a divide between idol and disciple. James’s tale, in its skillful revealing and omitting, raises more questions than it answers and has become a mine for biographical critics, psychoanalytic theorists, and reader-response analysts. James, Henry. The Figure in the Carpet and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1986.

over the decline of empire were mixed with theories of degeneration and fantasies of racial decline. One of the most important developments of this period was a revisioning of literary culture in a broad sense, which saw the emergence of both “high” and “low” literary texts. The decline of the three-volume novel allowed for the tremendous increase of popular print culture in the periodical press—including Blackwood’s, the YELLOW BOOK, the Savoy—which saw the intense development of short fiction (see MAGAZINES: LATE VICTORIAN). Literature of the period, particularly short fiction published in such periodicals, engaged with all of these controversial issues and expressed a restlessness and morbidity that made society uncomfortable during the end of the century. (See also NEW WOMAN, GEORGE EGERTON.)

Karen Keck



FIN DE SIÈCLE French for the “end of the century,” also used by the British during the 1890s, particularly in reference to the literary mood of the time and to the “naughty nineties.” This transitional period of endings and beginnings between the Victorians and MODERNISM saw a collision of ideas between convention and the avant garde that some critics have referred to as the “ambivalence of modernity.” Initially, the term represented an impetus for positive change and liberality of thought, but it was marred by what is now considered a certain degree of resistance to French aesthetic influences and practices. A period of technological advancement, educational reform, eugenic debates, and psychological theorization, the last decade of the 19th century also saw a clash of ideas on women’s rights, sexual politics, gender identity, open marriage, and, where the OSCAR WILDE trials became emblematic of the excessive concern over moral frailty, sexual inversion or homosexuality. As a result, the term became pejorative, much like DECADENCE, in its suggestion of moral ambiguity and a general disappointment in life; it became equated with apocalyptic terms like fin du globe and metaphors of illness such as mal du siècle. Further, aesthetic advancement in literature and the arts was seen to be infused with an alleged perversity and moral ambivalence, while general concerns

Ledger, Sally, and Scott McCracken, eds. Cultural Politics and the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Ledger, Sally, and Roger Luckhurst. The Fin de Siècle: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Sarah Maier

FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES ANGELA CARTER (1974) A collection of ANGELA CARTER’s short stories written during 1970–1973, her early experiments with short fiction. These stories introduce most of the issues that became Carter’s hallmarks in her major novels and short fiction—androgyny, incest, loneliness, rape, sadism, slavery, the blurred margins between imagination and reality, the intrusion of the supernatural in the natural world, and mirrors as the replica and re-creation of reality. In many of her stories in Fireworks Carter mingles magic realism, the narrative mode that includes fabulous and bizarre events in its objective, realistic reportage, with surrealism, wherein the subconscious mind is represented in art and literature by juxtaposing fantastic, seemingly contradictory images to create an unreal effect. “A SOUVENIR OF JAPAN” captures the loneliness of a British woman caught in a monotonous physical affair with a Japanese man and living in Shinjuku, where


appearances veneer reality. The story is an attempt by the narrator, who feels like “a female impersonator,” to maintain the facade of being in love while she is painfully aware of the general objectification of women as sexual beings in the male-dominated world. In “The Executioner’s Beautiful Daughter” time appears to be petrified, and the descriptions of the sordid lives of the inhabitants of the village resonate with the two hideous events in the story—the beheading of the incestuous son and the repetition of the incestuous act by the executioner father. “The Loves of Lady Purple” is a feminist satire on the enigmatic relationship between the creator and the created. The story lashes out at male fantasies and depicts the animated puppet prostitute Lady Purple killing the puppet master, appropriating the role he has assigned her, and looking for a brothel to gratify her insatiable sexual needs. “The Smile of Winter” poignantly captures the sorrow of the forlorn narrator through strikingly desolate images of the sea beach. The self-reflexive elements draw attention to the whole process of writing a story about the insensitivity of nature to human suffering as a cathartic exercise. “Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest,” with its double entendre in the title, provides incestuous undertones to the myth of the Fall of Man. Here a brother and a sister, during their search for the legendary Upas Tree, discover their latent sexuality, which they can explore only with each other. In “Flesh and the Mirror” the mirror reflects the moral aridity of the narrator as she engages in sex with a stranger to overcome her loneliness when her lover has betrayed her expectations. “Master” portrays the perverted sadistic treatment of a female slave, significantly named Friday by the master, and ends fittingly with poetic justice. “Reflections” contains strong gothic elements with its grotesque characters and events, the mirror playing the pivotal part in the transition of the protagonist from the rational world to the irrational one. “Elegy for a Freelance,” using the backdrop of political unrest during wars, presents the cycle of retribution and justice wherein the act of punishing the assassin itself becomes a debatable crime.

VanderMeer, Jeff. “Angela Carter.” The Modern World. Available Online. URL: scriptorium/carter.html. Accessed July 30, 2005. Preeti Bhatt

“FIRST CONFESSION” FRANK O’CONNOR (1939) First published in Harper’s Bazar, “First Confession” is possibly FRANK O’CONNOR’s funniest story. It juxtaposes Catholic concepts of innocence and sin, redemption and damnation, with the anxious logic of a boy of about seven encountering them for the first time. The narrator, Jackie, suffers agonies of social and personal mortification when his grandmother, “a real old countrywoman and quite unsuited to the life in town,” comes to live with his family in Cork. With the landmark of his first confession looming, he is convinced that he is destined for damnation as long as she drives him to various sins, up to and including elaborate schemes for her murder. O’Connor mocks prevalent modes of religious instruction and a theological approach focused obsessively on sin and hell. Religion and folk superstition become inextricably mingled in lurid tales of the fate of sinners who have made “bad” confessions (i.e., failed to confess fully and therefore to repent and gain divine forgiveness). Such tales both fascinate and terrify the impressionable Jackie, whose bewildered encounter with the physical layout of the confessional turns into pure farce. Salvation comes, however, with the wonderfully humane pragmatism of the parish priest. In marked contrast to Jackie’s teacher, he understands the fundamental innocence underlying childhood sins: Forgoing all attempts at moral or theological exordium in favor of far more effective sympathetic warnings about the horrors of hanging, he sends the much-relieved child, a fully redeemed “sinner,” on his way with a minor penance. A richly developed cast of characters is brought to life with remarkable economy in this comic masterpiece. BIBLIOGRAPHY O’Connor, Frank. Collected Stories. New York: Knopf, 1981.


Muireann O’Cinneide

Carter, Angela. Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories. With an introduction by Salman Rushdie. London: Vintage, 1996.


“First Love” was a breakthrough for SAMUEL BECKETT. First


written in French as “Premier Amour” in 1946 (originally published in 1970, translated into English by the author in the same year), the story marked Beckett’s turn to first-person narration, a stylistic decision that opened up new opportunities and heralded the development of Beckett’s mature fiction. “First Love” is the story of the narrator’s first, and possibly only, love affair, with a prostitute named Lulu, or Anna (the narrator changes the name halfway through). After the death of his father, the protagonist is evicted from his home and begins a vagabond lifestyle until he encounters Lulu on a bench beside a canal. Their courtship consists of short bursts of inconsequential dialogue, coupled with the protagonist’s irritation at being disturbed. He manages to stay away from the bench for some time, but finds himself inscribing Lulu’s name in a cowpat and thinking of her for as much as half an hour a day. He decides to call this behavior “by the dread name of love.” To put an end to this “plight,” he returns to meet Lulu once again. She mentions she has a room, and their cohabitation begins. The protagonist removes all of the furniture from one room, pushes the sofa against the wall, and buries himself within. He hopes to be left alone, but wakes one morning to Lulu (now Anna) undressed beside him. He sardonically remarks, “it was my night of love.” He is horrified by Anna’s ensuing pregnancy, in which he takes no further part, and on the night of his child’s delivery he leaves her, with her cries pursuing him down the street. The real pleasure of “First Love” is in its teller. The protagonist narrator—who appears to have once had ambitions as a writer, but who at the time of writing is nearing the end of his somewhat misanthropic life— relates the story with little sense of propriety, for a traditional cause-and-effect narrative (there are many seemingly unnecessary digressions), for the readers (he overtly abuses them), or for his unethical behavior toward Lulu. There is a detached, irritated quality to the narrator’s style, which mixes a disarming use of cliché—“I have no bone to pick with graveyards,” for instance—with a matter-of-fact tone: “I didn’t understand women at that period. I still don’t for that matter. Nor men either. Nor animals.” This quotation sums up two of the protagonist’s main characteristics: He very

often claims incomprehension, even of the apparently simplest things, and he wishes for a life removed from all women, men, and animals in order to find equilibrium or an escape from himself. These characteristics, along with the derelict remains of a classical education, mark the protagonist as one of the first of Beckett’s irritable philosopher-cum-bums who came to dominate his work in the 1940s and 1950s and who are most famously epitomized by the tramps Vladimir and Estragon of Waiting for Godot. Summarizing the narrator as a misanthropic, irritable, unethical tramp who wants only to escape the horrors of his own existence does not detract from the humor of “First Love.” Indeed, it is the sometimes pitch-black humor of the narrator that keeps both the reader and the narrative (and possibly the narrator) engaged. This detached and deathly humor is perhaps best expressed by the narrator’s own epitaph, his only piece of writing that still meets with his approval: Hereunder lies the above who up below So hourly died that he lived on till now.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Beckett, Samuel. First Love and Other Novellas. London: Penguin, 2000. Paul Stewart

FIRST LOVE, LAST RITES IAN MCEWAN (1975) Jack Slay, Jr., has described the appearance of IAN MCEWAN’s first collection of stories, First Love, Last Rites, as a “shock into literature,” owing to the themes and subject matter contained in the collection’s eight stories. The shock derives, first and foremost, from the primary themes and subject matter of most of the stories: A 14-year-old boy rapes his 10-year-old sister in the story “Homemade”; in “Butterflies,” a man draws a young girl to a secluded location under a canal bridge, sexually molests her, and drops her body— after she knocks herself unconscious trying to escape him—into the muddy canal waters; in “Cocker at the Theatre,” two actors rehearsing a scene in a play engage in sexual intercourse on stage, in front of the entire cast. Such incidents usually stand at the center of the story’s plot, but they also often appear scattered


throughout the stories in less noticeable ways. While the man lures the girl to her fate in “Butterflies,” the two of them pass a group of boys who are preparing to roast a live cat over a fire. The stories shock at a second level by the neutral and nonjudgmental descriptions of the violence. The narrator of “SOLID GEOMETRY,” who causes the wife he has come to hate to disappear using a complex mathematical trick, finishes his tale in this way: “Her voice was quite tiny, ‘What’s happening?’ and all that remained was the echo of her question above the deep blue sheets.” The narrators or main characters—six of the stories feature a first-person narrator—express no remorse for their actions and no sympathy for their victims, and the stories themselves do not seem to offer any moral or ethical judgments on anyone or anything. Once the story has committed to an act of murder or sexual perversion, McEwan follows it through to its end, leaving no detail unobserved. Although most—though not all—of the stories feature violence and sexual perversity, a more clear and consistent connection links all of the stories’ narrators or main characters: They are all isolated from human society or are alienated from the dominant culture. It is impossible to say whether McEwan expects the reader to see an inevitable link between these kinds of characters and the violence and perversities in which they engage, but he seems to suggest that isolation and alienation lead to a loss of sympathy for and understanding of others that creates the conditions for such acts. The quintessential exploration of this theme appears in “Conversations with a Cupboard Man,” with a narrator who is initially kept isolated from society without his knowledge; given his freedom, however, he chooses to remain in isolation. The cupboard man narrates his story to a social worker who sits outside his cupboard, listening, and to this worker he describes how his mother kept him in a state of suspended childhood, completely separate from the outside world. He never objected to this treatment for an obvious reason: “I didn’t know any other life, I didn’t think I was different.” She keeps him in a crib until he is 17, feeds him baby food, and tries to construct a special high chair for him when he is 14. She loosens her hold on him when she marries another man, and the cupboard man

finds himself out in the world and forced to fend for himself for the first time. He takes a job as a hotel dishwasher, where he is locked in a large oven by a sadistic chef on two occasions. After taking his revenge on the chef, he leaves the hotel and begins stealing for a living, which eventually lands him in jail. He enjoys the isolation of his cell so much that he asks the warden if he can stay in jail indefinitely; his request is denied, and he is forced to leave. He abandons his subsequent factory job for full-time life in his cupboard, where he remains at the conclusion of the story. The cupboard man’s trajectory is a familiar one in McEwan’s short fiction: A character’s initial state of involuntary isolation from society leads to voluntary behavior that alienates him from that society. In the cupboard man’s case, that behavior—with the exception of his treatment of the chef, which is arguably revenge—takes a relatively innocuous form in his desire for isolation in small, enclosed spaces. In other stories the forms are more violent, perverse, or damaging. The 14-year-old narrator of “Homemade” disparages the “thousands who each morning poured out of the terraced houses like our own to labour through the week” and separates himself from them with his drinking, smoking, and stealing and the rape of his 10-yearold sister. The main character of “Disguises,” forced into a curious world of gender confusion by his deceased mother’s sister, eventually comes to embrace the little girl’s costume she makes him wear and to envision his identity merging with that of a girl he has met at school. The narrator of “Butterflies” suffers from the strange physical defect of having no chin, which frightens people: “[I]t breeds distrust. . . . Women do not like my chin, they won’t come near me.” When he has his orgasm, he cements the connection between his isolation and his crime: “All the time I spent by myself came pumping out, all the hours walking alone and all the thoughts I had had, it all came out into my hand.” Unable to establish meaningful human relations with anyone, the narrator ends up expressing himself in his warped relationship with the little girl. Even the two stories that do not feature overt acts of violence or perversity, “Last Day of Summer” and “First Love, Last Rites,” depend on a background of violence or grotesque and repugnant imagery. In “Last


Day of Summer,” a teenager lives in a commune with his older brother after the death of his parents in a car crash. The narrator has an obsessive interest in describing the flesh of an overweight girl who comes to live in the commune and who takes on a maternal role in the house. At the end of the story, the girl’s weight causes a boating accident that kills her and a young child; the narrator survives, and the story concludes as he drifts alone down the river on the capsized boat. In “First Love, Last Rites,” a young couple living in a dirty flat become obsessed with a rat living in their walls. When they finally manage to kill the rat with a poker, a purple bag containing five baby rats slides out of its belly. The story ends in a moment of seeming hope, as they resolve to clean their flat and take a long walk, but the weight of the story’s unrelentingly dark imagery makes it difficult to see real hope in its conclusion. First Love, Last Rites remains a collection of interest for the study of postwar British literature and for the study of Ian McEwan, who has since achieved wide fame with multiple Booker Prize nominations for his later novels and with the Booker Prize–winning novel Atonement (2002). He published only one subsequent collection of short stories, In Between the Sheets (1978), which focuses on many of the same themes as his first collection. Although his tendency to depict violence and perversity explicitly has become muted in the novels that followed the publication of his two short story collections, his interest in the origins of violence and evil in the human condition has remained. First Love, Last Rites clearly reflects an interest in the nature of violence that featured in many works of British literature in the several decades following World War II, from the savage nature poetry of TED HUGHES and the fictions of William Golding and Anthony Burgess to the quietly violent dramas of Harold Pinter. With very few exceptions, most of the stories in the collection remain firmly within the tradition of a stark, gritty realism. Elements of postmodernism surface occasionally in the stories, especially in “Solid Geometry,” but McEwan’s short fiction has little in common with the self-referential or academic fiction of more clearly postmodern novelists and short story writers such as JOHN FOWLES or JEANETTE WINTERSON, who

were a dominant presence on the British literary landscape of the 1970s and 1980s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Malcolm, David. Understanding Ian McEwan. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002. McEwan, Ian. First Love, Last Rites. London: Cape, 1975; New York: Random House, 1975. Raban, Jonathan. “Exiles: New Fiction,” Encounter 44 (June 1975): 81. Ryan, Kiernan. Ian McEwan. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1994. Slay, Jack, Jr. Ian McEwan. New York: Twayne, 1996; London: Prentice Hall, 1996. James Lang

“FISHING-BOAT PICTURE, THE” ALAN SILLITOE (1958) Like the story “UNCLE ERNEST,” this early work has been reprinted many times as part of an ALAN SILLITOE anthology titled The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. The action takes place in Nottingham during the author’s boyhood and youth, the 1930s and the ensuing war years. Written in the first person, the narrator looks back over 28 years of his life, during which time he worked as a postman, married, and became a widower. The marriage was not harmonious; it had been punctuated with rows, separations, and reunions. The picture in the title serves as a metaphor for the relationship, as it goes to and fro between the marital home and the pawnshop before being destroyed in the road accident that kills the narrator’s wife, thus ending the marriage. Although the couple married at a young age and had a low income it is not material poverty that destroys the marriage but a basic incompatibility, made worse by the lack of children. Harry, the narrator, spends his spare time reading books borrowed from the public library, a pastime that annoys his wife, Kathy, who looks for excitement in her daily life. The first major row occurs when Kathy burns her husband’s book in a fit of jealous rage. Kathy subsequently leaves her husband to live with a housepainter with whom she had been friendly for about a year. After a ten-year absence, and shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Kathy returns to her hometown and visits her estranged husband. After the death of her housepainter she is now,

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apparently, on her own. The fishing-boat picture, which was once one of three similar paintings, the other two having been destroyed in a quarrel, becomes the focus of attention. Responding to Kathy’s apparent affection for the picture, Harry wraps it up and makes a gift of it to her. The picture is of little monetary value but has sentimental significance as it was a wedding present, for which reason Harry is surprised to see it in a pawnbroker’s shop a few days after parting with it. He buys it from the pawnbroker, takes it home, and hangs it up in its old place. Throughout the war years Kathy continues to visit Harry, borrowing money and admiring the picture as she did before pawning it. Six years after the first time she took the picture Harry again wraps it up and makes a gift of it to her, only to find it in the pawnshop again. This time it is Kathy who retrieves it, but only to lose it in the road accident that takes her life. At his wife’s funeral Harry learns that she had been living with another man. With his marriage finally at an end, Harry replaces neither his wife nor the picture but broods on the meaning of his life. This story is a close study of marital disharmony and deceit and the man’s inability to acknowledge or express his deepest feelings.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Stilitoe, Alan. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. New York: Plume, 1992. Irene Wiltshire

“FLY, THE” KATHERINE MANSFIELD (1922) One of the most anthologized of KATHERINE MANSFIELD’s short stories, along with “The GARDEN-PARTY,” “The Fly” was published in the Nation in 1922. Conscious of its appeal to perceptive readers, Mansfield avoided the publication of this story in a magazine, unlike others at that time that were intended just for money. She wrote it while she was staying in Paris undergoing Dr. Manhoukin’s new treatment for tuberculosis, and it is considered “her own little masterpiece” and “one of her principal achievements” (Alpers 258, 356). Like other Mansfield stories (“The Child-Who-Was-Tired” is the clearest example), “The Fly” has been seen as drawing on Chekhov, particularly on his story “Small Fry,” in which an abused clerk, who is writing a letter to his

hated superior, crushes a cockroach and tosses it into the flame of the lamp. “The Fly” is the story of old Woodifield and his boss, who is never referred to by his name. The former worked for the latter until a heart attack forced him to retire prematurely. Since then, every Tuesday he visits the boss. This Tuesday is different because old Woodifield mentions that his daughters have recently visited the graves of his son and the boss’s son, both of whom died in WORLD WAR I. This stirs the superior’s sorrow, for he has not overcome the loss of his only child. He feels the urge to be alone and expels Woodifield from his office. Suddenly, a fly falls into the inkpot. After playing with it, the boss finally drowns the fly and is grasped by a profound fear of death, which is the only facet of his life that he cannot control. This story has aroused endless academic explanations. Some, like Cherry A. Hankin (245–246), find autobiographical connections, in which the boss stands for Mansfield’s father (Harold Beauchamp, a bank director) and the dead son for Mansfield’s brother Leslie (killed in the war six years previously, as in the story). Others, like Ken Arvidson (217), find in this narrative Mansfield’s ultimate perception of the artist as an impersonal entity who kills sentimentalism, like a god who controls everything, but is vulnerable to death. In any case, this story reflects the importance of cyclical time and its connection with senility and the loss of power. Woodifield’s premature retirement has involved his seclusion in the house with his wife and daughters, a domestic realm and private sphere, away from the external, masculine space of work, that forces him to live in a cyclical and repetitive time. In turn, the boss, although older than Woodifield, still remains in the public eye almost like a scarecrow; his senility is observed in his circular perception of time, always coming back to the moment when he lost his only son. It is a story of self-deception, narrated from the point of view of the boss.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alpers, Antony. The Life of Katherine Mansfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. Arvidson, Ken. “Dancing on the Hand of God: Katherine Mansfield’s Religious Sensibility.” In The Critical Response

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to Katherine Mansfield, edited by Jan Pilditch, 211–218. Connecticut and London: Greenwood Press, 1996. Hankin, Cherry A. Katherine Mansfield and Her Confessional Stories. London and Basingstoke: MacMillan, 1983. Tate, Trudi. Men, Women and the Great War: An Anthology. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995. Gerardo Rodriguez-Salas

FORSTER, E. M. (1879–1970) Edward Morgan Forster (called Morgan by his family and friends) was born into a middle-class family, and his father died before he was two years old. Raised by his mother and grandmother in rural Hertfordshire, he attended Tonbridge School as a day student and then King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied classics and history. During two extended trips abroad between 1901 and 1903, he wrote his first short stories, “The STORY OF A PANIC” in Italy and “The ROAD FROM COLONUS,” in Greece (see the introduction to Collected Tales). These two stories and “The OTHER SIDE OF THE HEDGE” were his first publications, all printed in the new liberal monthly magazine Independent Review during 1904. His travels inspired the theme of rustic simplicity as a liberating agent for the rigidity and intellectual narrowness of middle-class English life that he would later use in his stories and novels. Nicholas Royle has noted that a good deal is known about Forster’s “surface life” (5). In the years prior to World War I, Forster worked energetically on his writing, finding outlets in a variety of popular magazines. Around this time he also participated in the Bloomsbury gatherings of intellectuals and writers, informally led by Virginia Woolf and named for the quarter in London where many of them lived. When Forster returned from Egypt in 1919, where he had been working for the Red Cross, he worked briefly as literary editor of the Daily Herald before going to India as secretary to the maharajah of Dewas State. His experience of colonial administration led to the writing and publication of A Passage to India in 1924. He was the first president of the National Council for Civil Liberties; was an honorary fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, from 1945; and was awarded the prestigious Order of Merit by the queen in 1969.

Although he appeared to be an “establishment” figure, Forster was also, as Nicholas Royle notes, always slightly “anti-authoritarian” (5) and more openly critical of English social conventions and male gender roles than some of his contemporaries. Despite his seeming misogyny (the fact, for example, that many of his women characters are very unsympathetically drawn), critics have made a strong case for a transgressive or “new” Forster, noting the motifs of conversion and the antiestablishment impulses that underlie a good deal of his work (Royle, 6). As a young man Forster knew Edward Carpenter, an early advocate of gay rights, and this association is often said to have helped him come to terms with his own homosexuality, although Forster never felt sure enough of his reputation to make this side of his life public or to allow his novel Maurice (1971) to be published in his lifetime. This aspect of Forster is also evident in the short stories. Forrest Reid wrote of the “deeper and more hidden things touched on,” by which he meant the homoerotic aspects in many of the stories (quoted in Herz, 250). “ARTHUR SNATCHFOLD” (1928), while conforming to other stories of awakening, is a protest against the criminalization of homosexuality that was in force until 1967. “The Other Boat” (1958) is a story of an interracial affair between a young Indian man, Cocoanut, and the English narrator Lionel, which takes place on a ship. Lionel ends the relationship by murdering his lover. For much of his life and increasingly since his death in 1970, Forster has been remembered primarily for his novels about Edwardian England, with his literary reputation resting primarily on Where Angels Fear to Tread (1907), A Room with a View (1908), and Howard’s End (1910), all of which have been lavishly filmed. However, during a literary career spanning 70 years, Forster was prolific in a variety of genres: In addition to six novels, he wrote as many as 15 plays, over 50 short stories, and a large body of criticism. Forster’s short stories were clearly important to him. In 1910 he wrote to the publisher Edward Garnett about The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories (1911), asking, “Do you remember some short stories of mine? I have at last entrapped a publisher into taking them. I am very glad, for I think them better than my long books—the only point of criticism on which I have ever disagreed


with you!” (quoted in Herz, 24). Later, he wrote to a friend, Jessica Darling, “Thank you for what you say about my short stories. I would rather people praised them than anything else I wrote” (quoted in Herz, 24). In fact, both The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories (1911) and Forster’s second collection, The Eternal Moment (1928), received mixed reviews, although the first was overall more highly regarded than the second. A third collection, The Life to Come, was published posthumously in 1972. Forster considered his short stories fantasies; in 1944 he wrote, “I like the idea of fantasy, of muddling up the actual and the impossible until the reader isn’t sure which is which” (1972, 226). Some of his short stories make use of supernaturalism. For example, in “The Celestial Omnibus” (1908) a boy travels on a mysterious bus above London and meets literary heroes and authors. Other stories, such as “The Road from Colonus,” suggest mystical forces that could transform the circumscribed consciousness of ordinary people, but do not employ explicitly supernatural devices. Still other stories, such as “The Other Side of the Hedge,” are fantasy with overtones of allegory. Of fantasy novels, Forster writes, “The power of fantasy penetrates into every corner of the universe, but not into the forces that govern it” (Forster 1954, 110). So it is with Forster’s short stories: He takes ordinary protagonists and nonchalantly expands the limits of their perception far beyond the scope of everyday reality in order to dramatically reveal the awful mediocrity and conformity structuring that reality.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Beauman, Nicola. Morgan: A Biography of E. M. Forster. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1993. Forster, E. M. Aspects of the Novel. 1927. Reprint, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1954. ———. The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1911. ———. Collected Tales. New York: Knopf, 1947. ———. The Eternal Moment and Other Stories. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1928. ———. Howard’s End. London: Arnold, 1908. ———. The Life to Come and Other Stories. London: Arnold, 1972. ———. Two Cheers for Democracy. London: Arnold, 1972.

———. Where Angels Fear to Tread. Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1905. Herz, Judith Scherer. The Short Narratives of E. M. Forster. London: Macmillan, 1988. Royle, Nicholas. E. M. Forster. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1999. Susan Russo

FOWLES, JOHN (1926–2005)

Born in Essex, Fowles served in the Royal Marines. After his discharge, he attended the University of Edinburgh and completed a B.A. at New College, Oxford University, in 1950. Thereafter he became a teacher in France, Greece, and Britain until 1963, when he began to devote his energies full time to his writing. Fowles is best known for his novels, which present flawed characters confronting complex existential dilemmas. They include The Collector (1963), about a uninteresting clerk with an extensive butterfly collection who buys a remote cottage and imprisons a vibrant, privileged young woman in the basement; The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969), a Victorian story with authorial intrusions about a young man’s uncertain attempts to understand the emotional crisis haunting a mysterious young woman’s existence; and A Maggot (1985), an experimental narrative into which extranarrative documents intrude and in which the more conventional elements have been drawn from an elastic synthesis of the mystery/detective and sciencefiction genres. Fowles’s only collection of short fiction was The EBONY TOWER (1974). The collection contains the title novella as well as four short stories. The basic situation in the title novella is broadly similar to that in his novel The Magus (1965): A young, married British writer named David Williams travels to Brittany to interview a reclusive, expatriate artist. He finds the artist living with two young women whom he has nicknamed the Mouse and the Freak to emphasize their respective roles as literary caregiver and pleasure giver. The women complement each other, and the protagonist discovers that although their relationship with each other is, in its essence, the artist’s creation, it may be as important to them as their relationships with him. Indeed, the artist’s estate has provided them with a

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welcome refuge but has gradually come to seem a place of confinement. Williams becomes tentatively involved with the Mouse, whose real name is Diana, but ultimately it becomes clear that he does not understand his own needs any better than he understands hers. The four short stories in The Ebony Tower are “Poor Koko,” “The ENIGMA,” and “The Cloud.” “Poor Koko” centers on a biographer who retreats to a country cottage to finish a book on Thomas Love Peacock. He is surprised by a burglar who not only ties him up and abuses him but also destroys both his book manuscript and his typewriter. “The Enigma” concerns a policeman’s investigation of a man’s mysterious disappearance and exploits the conventions of the mystery/detective genre. Set in southern France, “The Cloud” wryly populates an idyllic picnic in an Edenic location with a cast of unself-consciously superficial, crassly self-indulgent, and boorishly self-important British vacationers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Acheson, James. John Fowles. New York: St. Martin’s, 1998. Baker, James R., and Dianne Vipond, eds. John Fowles Special Issue. Twentieth Century Literature 42, no. 1 (Spring 1996). Foster, Thomas C. Understanding John Fowles. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994. Fowles, John. The Ebony Tower. London: Jonathan Cape, 1974; Boston: Little, Brown, 1974. Palmer, William J., ed. John Fowles Special Issue. Modern Fiction Studies 31, no. 1 (Spring 1985). Martin Kich



1921) D. H. LAWRENCE wrote the first version of “The Fox” in December 1918. This version of the story was a straightforward tale about two women, whose lesbian partnership is implicit. Jill Banford is diffident and timid, whereas the more physical Ellen March is capable of strenuous farming chores. Struggling for comfort and an effective agricultural existence in an unfamiliar rural residence, the city women are troubled by a fox who deftly robs them of domestic fowl. A young man, Henry Grenfel, enters the women’s lives. After killing the fox, he wins March, and Banford, despite her vociferous complaints, loses her lover. To retain any companionship with March, she must assist

her with the wedding, galling as this is. March has taken the easier option, choosing heterosexuality over lesbianism. As homosexuality was not made legal in Britain until 1967, such a move is understandable. The relationship between Banford and March has been courageous and unconventional, but a heteronormative status quo is established by the story’s end. There is a triumph for normative sex, but the story is a tragedy because a flourishing, nonnormative relationship has been thwarted. In 1921, Lawrence revised “The Fox,” crafting a longer and more brutal, violent, and successful story. In the new version, Henry deliberately kills Banford by allowing a tree to fall on top of her. This dramatic climax is patently symbolic in its phallocentric imagery. The axe shaft and the tree trunk, both profoundly phallic, are wielded by the masculine Henry. The homosexual female, Banford, has lost her lover, March, to the heterosexual male, Henry. Henry not only has won March through loaded discourse but also has contrived a callous murder. It is not relevant to speculate about whether March suspects the truth behind her former lover’s death. What is important is that even before the killing, March meekly accepts Henry’s advances instead of valuing and privileging her existing relationship. Banford becomes less sympathetic as the narrative progresses. She whines and nags March about her indulgence toward Henry but fails to articulate any convincing argument about the efficacy of her same-sex partnership with March. Banford’s loquacious impotence—Linda Ruth Williams describes the character as a “fretful, manipulative caricature of passive-aggressive femininity” (63)—contrasts the physicality of the confident Henry. Only one warrior is equipped to inspire the loyalty and sexuality of the easily swayed March: The male wins easily. When he first arrives, Henry is less confident. A lowranking soldier in World War I, he previously fled to Canada. He grew up in the farmhouse with a nowdeceased relative, so he soon claims mastery of the home and its surroundings. He kills the fox, replacing it as the aggressive male threat to the female couple’s way of life. Significantly, March had a clear opportunity to shoot the fox but hesitated, gripped by its striking appearance

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and stealthy character. She is intrigued by the male fox, as she is later intrigued by Henry, who eventually conquers her. Henry wins March, gaining her hand, but he does not necessarily win her heart. Lawrence’s major achievement in “The Fox” is to legitimize the homosexual love that Banford feels for March. Henry’s triumph is a victory for heterosexual-dominated society, but it is clearly not a triumph for March, who shows little indication of genuine affective desire for her new, male partner. Before Henry wins March, his sexual lust for Banford is expressed through Lawrence’s use of free indirect speech; the sexuality that exists between Banford and March is, inevitably, noted more coyly. A 1967 film version of “The Fox,” directed by Mark Rydell, sensationalizes the sexuality essential to the dangerous love triangle and, arguably, dilutes the impact of Lawrence’s discreet, moral insistence on the merits of all forms of love.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Hubbard Harris, Janice. The Short Fiction of D. H. Lawrence. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1984. Kincead-Weekes, Mark. D. H. Lawrence: Triumph to Exile, 1912–22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Lawrence, D. H. The Cambridge Edition of the Works of D. H. Lawrence: “The Fox,” “The Captain’s Doll,” “The Ladybird.” Edited by Dieter Mehl. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Nelson, Jane A. “The Familial Isotopy in ‘The Fox.’ ” In The Challenge of D. H. Lawrence, edited by Michael Squires and Keith Cushman, 129–142. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990. Tate, Trudi. “Lawrence’s Tales.” In The Cambridge Companion to D. H. Lawrence, edited by Anne Fernihough, 103– 118. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Williams, Linda Ruth, D. H. Lawrence. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1997. Kevin De Ornellas



“GABRIEL-ERNEST” SAKI (H. H. MUNRO) (1909) A slyly rebellious, blackly comic story that unites the Edwardian author’s common themes of sexual ambiguity, metamorphosis, and reminiscent of an OSCAR WILDE campiness. “Gabriel-Ernest,” first published in the Westminster Gazette on May 29, 1909, was one of SAKI’s first published stories as a full-time writer, when he had settled in London after six years as a newspaper correspondent in Europe. A “wild beast” in Van Cheele’s woods turns out to be a boy who cheerfully admits to eating “child-flesh.” Van Cheele passes the boy off as a lost, savage waif, but when he is later found lying naked in the bachelor’s morning-room, Van Cheele’s aunt christens him “Gabriel-Ernest” and enlists his help with her Sunday school children’s tea. Van Cheele discovers that the boy turns into a werewolf at dusk, but he is too late to save a child whom Gabriel-Ernest escorts home—the sun sets, the victim screams, and the two vanish. When Gabriel-Ernest’s clothes are discovered near a stream, Van Cheele’s aunt, thinking the pair drowned, naively mourns “her lost foundling. It was on her initiative that a memorial brass was put up in the parish church to ‘Gabriel-Ernest, an unknown boy, who bravely sacrificed his life for another.’ ” This daring, sexually transgressive story offers a tantalizing parallel between the “unknown boy” and Hector Hugh Munro, whose private world remains unknown but who, when he transformed into his satirical alter ego Saki, savaged with ink-tipped claws the

conventional, bourgeois Edwardian world. Munro would later fight and die in WORLD WAR I, sacrificing his private life for a brief, manly, patriotic life as a defender of the very society he seemed so disillusioned with as Saki. Saki’s interest in adolescent boys—from his frequent protagonists Reginald and Clovis to the doomed young dandy Comus Bassington in The Unbearable Bassington (1911)—is most obviously gilded with homoeroticism in “Gabriel-Ernest.” The strange boy’s taste for devouring other boys may reflect Munro’s possible hidden homosexual interest in younger lovers (explored in A. J. Langguth’s 1981 biography). Munro, through Saki, seems to allude coyly to the impossibility of discussing homosexuality in a post-Wilde England when Van Cheele notes that the wolfish lad should not talk about devouring young boys because “Such dreadful things should not be said even in fun.” Van Cheele later covers up the naked youth with a copy of the Morning Post, the paper for which Munro was a correspondent. Saki’s tales often involve a boy gaining temporary triumph over an intolerant guardian—probably based on the strict aunts who raised Munro in Pilton—but here the aunt blindly sees only the good in the lycanthropic Gabriel-Ernest, going so far as to innocently erect a memorial to his murderous behavior. In this cheeky allegory, then, the physical, moral, and sexual deviance of the beastly youth is unwittingly endorsed by the aunt (a typically matrimony-endorsing, heterosexuality-upholding figure in literature), but Gabriel-



Ernest himself survives, untamed by conformist, conservative Edwardian society. “Gabriel-Ernest,” with its “wild, nude animal” antihero reposing regally in a bourgeois dining room, owes much of it campy clash of nature and culture to Oscar Wilde, literary defender of “the love that dare not speak its name.” Saki’s title is probably an homage to Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, where “earnest” was a pun on “uranist,” a late 19th-century term for a homosexual. The lordly Van Cheele, the artist Cunningham, and Gabriel-Ernest also echo the male characters that form the triangle at the heart of The Picture of Dorian Gray. This metamorphosis story also rewrites Ovid’s myths of the lupine Lycaon and the eroticized youth Narcissus (in which a self-absorbed youth is mourned by a woman), while offering a more original, imaginative version of Walter Pater’s cannibalism- and pederastytinged look at the Greek wine god in “A Study of Dionysus” (Greek Studies, 1895).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Saki. The Complete Saki. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1982. Brian Gibson

GALLOWAY, JANICE (1956– ) Born in Saltcoats, Scotland, in 1956, Galloway studied music at the University of Glasgow and worked as a teacher in Ayrshire for 10 years, before her writing career established her as one of the leading authors in Scotland. Her debut novel, The Trick Is to Keep Breathing, published in 1990, was an immediate success, short-listed for the Whitbread First Novel, Scottish First Book, and Aer Lingus Awards and winning the Mind/Allan Lane Book of the Year. Dealing with a woman’s nervous and emotional breakdown following her lover’s death, the novel is an exploration of Joy’s postbereavement struggle to continue a normal life. Her lonely existence, whose grieving crises are cleverly diluted by the author’s ironic wit and tinted with Scottish sarcasm, is driven by a desperate effort to find the “trick,” the way out of her posttraumatic depression. The novel’s acclaim was accompanied by the popular reception of its stage adaptation, performed in Glasgow

(Tron Theatre), London (Royal Court), and Toronto (Du Maurier Theatre). Galloway’s subsequent works received increasing critical attention and prestigious awards: Galloway’s second book, the short story collection BLOOD (1991), was short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize, People’s Prize, and Saltire Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Ordinary situations (moving into and redecorating a new house) and everyday scenarios (a visit to the dentist’s), glimpses of real life, are observed with an almost cinematic technique and often presented as fragmented capsules of human existence. The stories are linked by a shared element of traumatic revelation, invariably disclosing the grotesque and surreal aspects within the characters’ apparently normal routines. Galloway’s unsentimental stance on human relationships and particularly the dysfunctionality of romantic love is apparent in her second collection of stories, Where You Find It (1995). As in her previous works, ordinary rituals of average life stories—from the accurate confection of Valentine’s Day heart-shaped sandwiches to women comparing notes on men’s kissing attributes—are laid bare, their lack of depth inexorably exposed by Galloway’s unforgiving wit.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Christianson, Aileen, and Alison Lumsden. eds. Contemporary Scottish Women Writers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000. Galloway, Janice. Blood. London: Cape, 1991. ———. Clara. London: Cape, 2002. ———. Where You Find It. London: Cape, 1995. Monica Germana

GALSWORTHY, JOHN (1867–1933)

A prolific writer of novels, plays, and short stories, Galsworthy is generally known for the series of novels that make up The Forsyte Saga—the first of which, The Man of Property, appeared in 1906—which detail the lives of a wealthy London family over several generations. The sequence was televized to great acclaim in 1967 and again in 2002–2003. A lawyer by training with a strong social conscience, Galsworthy launched his career as a writer with a collection of short stories, From the Four Winds,


published in 1897, followed by the collection A Man of Devon (1901). Other collections include On Forsyte Change (1930), a collection of short stories focusing on incidents in the lives of his most famous fictional family, and Five Tales (1818), which contains his most anthologized tale, “The Apple Tree.” In this story an unhappily married man returns to the idyllic farm where he had stayed 25 years before and remembers his romance with an innocent girl whom he proposed to but abandoned. Their meeting under an apple tree is a deliberately symbolic one, evoking the prelapsarian state of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Like much of Galsworthy’s work, the story contains a strong element of social commentary, particularly on the operation of the class system. The story was made into a film in 1988. At the end of his career, Galsworthy’s reputation led to his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Galsworthy, John. The Forsyte Saga. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ———. From the Four Winds. London: Unwin, 1897. ———. A Man of Devon. London: Blackwood, 1901. Ginden, James. John Galsworthy’s Life and Art. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1987. Lanier, Doris. “The Blackbird in John Galsworthy’s ‘The Japanese Quince,’ ” English Language Notes 30, no. 2 (1992): 57–62. Sternlicht, Stanford. John Galsworthy. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Andrew Maunder

GAMES AT TWILIGHT AND OTHER STORIES ANITA DESAI (1978) This short story collection by the Indian-born writer Anita Desai (b. 1937) addresses social alienation and the isolation of the self. By focusing her work on the domestic sphere and on the self, Desai has established a new trend in Indian writing in English. The characters’ inability to come to terms with the clash between inner and outer worlds gives rise to two main reactions: For some, the quest for identity is characterized by a need to prove their worth through outside acknowledgement (an influence of Western culture originating with the BRITISH EMPIRE); for others, the response is one of oblivion as regards their own personality (a reflection of a Hindu heritage).

The title story is an account of a conflict experienced by a child protagonist who is anxious to win a game of hide-and-seek at all costs. Ironically, when Ravi finally comes out of his hideous hiding place to claim victory, the other children have forgotten all about him and are playing a different game. The ultimate feeling of disillusionment experienced by the young protagonist triggers his awareness of the meaninglessness of his desire for recognition. In “Private Tuition by Mr. Bose” and “Sale,” the protagonist, a Sanskrit teacher in the former, a painter in the latter, is faced with the insensitivity of his customers, which bruises his sense of self-worth. In “Sale,” the artist’s representation on the canvas of a beautified reality serves as an escape from his painful and grim personal life. His customers, who seek a comforting representation of life, leave without purchasing any paintings. Both protagonists are caught between antagonistic worlds: the outside world with the helpless pupils and the unappreciative customers and the sweet realm of domestic occupations with wife and child. In both stories the need for creation and material needs come into conflict. The ending of “Sale” shows the character in a pathetic light as he resorts to begging, thereby reducing his art to a mere means of survival. In “Surface Textures,” Harish, a responsible man with a family, is bewitched by the sight of a melon that decisively alters his life: He withdraws from the everyday world and roams the streets, foraging for a texture that will quench his craving for sensuous perception. The final irony lies in the fact that, although he has abandoned his family, Harish is revered like a saint. Another story of obsession, “The Accompanist,” examines the life of a character whose sole raison d’être lies in his submission to a famous musician. Bhaiyya’s inner world is disrupted when his childhood friends suggest that he perform solo, reminding him of his musical talents as a child. A reconstruction narrative built on reminiscence around the symbol of the tyrannical father’s house takes place. The constricting prison of the childhood home has been replaced by concert halls, which have become a refuge from the outer world. To heal a sense of divided self, the character has refashioned his inner world. Leading the life of the Ustad’s accompanist symbolizes a new narrative of his


sense of self. For both protagonists the significance of their past life has been erased by their newly found meaning in life. The setting and images of urban India, the pervading atmosphere of India’s hot summers, and the evocation of the stifling environment of crowded homes all furnish a vivid picture of Indian life. Desai employs the journey of the inner self as a postcolonial literary trajectory: To generate an alternative construct, her writing relies on the narratives of self and family, time and recollection (with the interrelatedness of past and present), and space. With its exploration of the internal landscape and its exposition of the discrepancy between the inner being and the outside world, Desai’s writing, exemplified in this short story collection, constitutes an attempt toward the decolonization of self in Indian literature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Desai, Anita. Games at Twilight and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1978. Florence Libert

GARDAM, JANE (1928– ) Jane Gardam was born in Coatham, North Yorkhire, in 1928. She won a scholarship to the University of London to study English and then developed a career in journalism. Gardam came to literary prominence with Black Faces, White Faces (1975), a collection of linked short stories about Jamaica, which won the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Gardam also attracted critical acclaim for her first adult novel, God on the Rocks (1978), which won the Prix Baudelaire and was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Her other novels include The Queen of the Tambourine (1991), which won the Whitbread Novel Award; Faith Fox (1996); and The Flight of the Maidens (2000). In Black Faces, White Faces, Gardam explores familial interaction and the breakdown of communication that frequently leads to isolation, despair, and mutual misunderstanding. Stories of domestic British frustrations, displaced into a “foreign” environment, are played out against an enigmatic Jamaican backdrop, complete with murderous glens, awakening desires, and the fear of abandonment. Gardam’s British char-

acters often display a residually colonialist attitude toward Jamaica and its people. This is particularly evident in “Something to Tell the Girls,” in which Miss Dee-Dee and Miss Gongers of Harrogate Hall, two elderly spinster teachers, treat the local Jamaicans naively and patronizingly as they get lost and risk danger away from the tourist trail. The elderly women are discovered teaching English folk songs to local children by a former student, Mrs. Ingham, who features in the earlier story “The Weeping Child.” The interaction of the characters from distinctly separate stories concretizes the sense of time and place in this collection and operates as an effective technique to create additional layers of claustrophobia. Gardam continues her exploration of the fraying remains of the colonialist spirit and the exploitation of its infrastructure in the first and last stories in The Pangs of Love and Other Stories (1983), winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award. In “The First Adam,” the colonial drive is provided by modern business opportunities in Hong Kong as an English businessman describes his work as his mistress; the wife he barely knows is distant and removed at home in Welwyn. The final story, “The Last Adam,” is an example of Gardam’s frequent engagement with religious systems, which are often revealed as lacking in any spiritual depth, as Mother Clare oversees the closure of a redundant Catholic mission in India. In contrast, the title story from The Pangs of Love is more superficially lighthearted than the other stories in the collection. It is a self-consciously feminist reworking of Hans Christian Anderson’s story “The Little Mermaid” in which the younger sister of the self-sacrificing original mermaid determines to be “free of the terrible pangs of love that put women in bondage.” The younger, “coarser” sister tracks down the handsome prince who captured her sister’s heart and attracts him with her feisty nature and feminist sensibilities. However, he refuses to give up his existing life (and, indeed, to swap his legs for a tail) as requested by his new love. The mermaid is left alone, fighting off bitterness and denying that she is now aggressive. The idea of sacrifice is treated with the recurrence of religious symbolism in the story “The Easter Lilies.” Here, the elderly Miss White becomes fixated on saving her financially


troubled church money by requesting some lilies from Malta, where she has recently stayed. However, she dies as she is laying out the lilies in church. Having bequeathed her estate to the church, her death saves it. The Easter setting of the story contextualizes her actions in terms of a thoroughly mundane and frugal version of Christian sacrifice. Gardam’s third collection of stories, Going into a Dark House (1994), was awarded the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award (1995). In “Zoo-Zoo,” two Catholic nuns communicate more of a connection with a wildcat escaped from the zoo than with Sister Alfege, whom they had recently taken to a hospice to die. As do Gardam’s other religious characters, the nuns lack any real sense of a fundamental faith. Similarly, rather than overtly displaying religious acts of devotion and inner faith, the Quaker community in “The Meeting House” lives by religious routines. These routines are disrupted by the arrival of a homeless family who squat in the community house and deliberately disrupt ceremonies. The death of this family in a car accident enables the Quakers to retake their meeting place; they are left with the supernatural, ghostly presence of the family, but this is reassuring rather than threatening. This story thereby provides an example of how Gardam represents the supernatural as a means whereby communication and reconciliation can be attained between people previously alienated. This theme is also explored in “Dead Children,” wherein a mother grieves for the loss of her children, who have become adults with whom she no longer has any connection. The supernatural meeting among the three of them, when the woman is elderly and the children very young, offers a channel whereby an emotional connection can be made. Miscommunication and lack of connection between familial generations is also central to the last story in Going into the Dark House, “Telegony,” which is subdivided into three parts. Each part focuses on a different generation of the same family, which is dominated by a lack of understanding and empathy. Gardam’s other short story collections include Missing the Midnight: Hauntings and Grotesques (1997), which extends her use of the supernatural into the realm of magical realism, and The Sidmouth Letters (1997), which melds past and present, the title story

exploring Jane Austen’s love life. In addition to short stories and novels for adults, Gardam is a successful writer of nonfiction and children’s fiction. Her nonfiction includes a book about Yorkshire, The Iron Coast (1994), and her writing for children includes Bilgewater (1977), originally written for children but now reclassified as adult fiction. She won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award for The Hollow Land (1981); published a collection of short stories set on a farm for children, A Few Fair Days (1971); and has written novels for teenagers, A Long Way from Verona (1971) and The Summer after the Funeral (1973).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Gardam, Jane. Black Faces, White Faces. London: Abacus, 1982. ———. A Few Fair Days. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1971. ———. God on the Rocks. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978. ———. Going into a Dark House. London: Abacus, 1997. ———. The Hollow Land. London: Julia MacRae, 1981. ———. Missing the Midnight: Hauntings and Grotesques. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997. ———. Old Filth. London: Chatto & Windus, 2004. ———. The Pangs of Love and Other Stories. London: Abacus, 1984. ———. The Sidmouth Letters. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978. Jo Trevenna

“GARDENER, THE” RUDYARD KIPLING (1925) The critic Edmund Wilson described “The Gardener” as the finest written by RUDYARD KIPLING. Possibly the most celebrated story by Kipling to deal with the legacy of WORLD WAR I, it is also (with the exception of “MARY POSTGATE”) the most contentious. Much of this debate centers on the relationship between the protagonist and her “nephew” as well as the ambiguous religious allusion that closes the text. Kipling establishes a closed community built around discretion and moral conduct in the opening words of the story: “Every one in the village knew that Helen Turrell did her duty by all her world.” The tale Helen tells her neighbors is that her brother, reputed to be “a black sheep,” died in India shortly before the birth of his illegitimate son. Helen, convalescing in the South of France because of “lung trouble,” “most nobly”


assumed responsibility, arranging for the child to be brought to her from India and nursing him through an illness before returning to the village “thin and worn but triumphant.” Helen christened the child Michael and raised him as her nephew. Kipling introduces important incidents from Michael’s childhood and adolescence. At six years old, Michael asks Helen why he cannot call her “Mummy.” Helen allows him to do so, but only at bedtime and between themselves. However, she makes a point of informing her neighbors because “it’s always best to tell the truth.” Michael is upset when he learns that she has told and threatens to hurt Helen when he is dead. When, as a schoolboy, Michael breaks down Helen’s “stammered defences” in order to confirm his illegitimacy, he receives the assurance from her “that nothing on earth or beyond could make any difference between them.” Michael enlists at the start of the war and is killed (in circumstances that closely resemble the death of Kipling’s own son). Seeing the war as part of an industrial process, Helen comments, “I’m being manufactured into a bereaved next of kin.” The making of mourners is described as another arm of the militarized state. Grief, too, is no more than a routine: “[T]he ease with which she could slip Michael’s name into talk and incline her head to the proper angle, at the proper murmur of sympathy.” Following the armistice, Michael’s body is discovered and identified, and Helen prepares to visit the war cemetery where he has been buried. For his description of Hagenzeele, Kipling drew on his own experience of Rouen Cemetery. Arriving at the Central Authority in France, Helen encounters a Lancashire woman in search of her son, also illegitimate: “His proper name . . . was Anderson, but, coming of respectable folk, he had of course enlisted under the name of Smith.” On the train to Hagenzeele, Helen meets Mrs. Scarsworth, who claims not to have lost anyone but visits the cemeteries on behalf of those who have. Scarsworth initially appears as a ghoulish kind of tourist armed with her Kodak camera: “[W]hen I’ve got enough commissions for one area to make it worth while, I pop over and execute them.” Later in their hotel, though, Scarsworth admits to Helen that there is

“one, d’you see, and—and he was more to me than anything else in the world.” Under the cover of her commissions, Scarsworth visits his grave: “He was everything to me that he oughtn’t to have been—the one real thing . . . and I’ve had to pretend he wasn’t. I’ve had to watch every word I said, and think out what lie I’d tell next, for years and years!” Helen responds by reaching out to Mrs. Scarsworth; the latter’s reaction (“Is that how you take it?”) suggests a bond between the two women. The following day, Helen visits the cemetery by herself and gets lost among the “merciless sea of black crosses.” She meets a gardener who asks her for whom she is looking. Helen replies, “Lieutenant Michael Turrell—my nephew.” The gardener responds by saying, “I will show you where your son lies.” Enough has been implied in the story to suggest that Michael is, indeed, Helen’s son, so that, though moving, the gardeners words are not wholly unexpected. What is surprising, however, is that this mysterious figure should know Michael’s true identity. The story’s final words (“and she went away, supposing him to be the gardener”) are an allusion to John 20:15, in which Christ is compared to a gardener. This conclusion has provoked much debate. Does the gardener have Christlike qualities, is he literally Christ, or is it a case of mistaken identities in which redemption is the most important factor? In terms of the short story form, this ending is quite different from the “twist in the tail” that Kipling often uses in his earlier stories, in which the surprise of the ending is not forecast previously in the text, as it is in “The Gardener.” Instead, by breaking with the patterns of his own fiction, Kipling appears to suggest that redemption is possible in an otherwise Godless universe only by breaking with the polite codes that prevent truth. By dismantling the structures of his own writing, Kipling points to the excessive grief and trauma that a hypocritical society merely seeks to repress.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kemp, Sandra. Kipling’s Hidden Narratives. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988. Lewis, Lisa, ed. “The Gardener.” The New Reader’s Guide to the Works of Rudyard Kipling. Available online. URL: Accessed May 12, 2006.


Rutherford, Andrew, ed. Kipling’s Mind and Art. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1964. Paul March Russell

“GARDEN-PARTY, THE” KATHERINE MANSFIELD (1921) KATHERINE MANSFIELD incorporated literary MODERNISM into the genre of the short story in The Garden-Party and Other Stories, published in 1922. The title story, written in 1921, emphasizes mood, emotion, and relationships of characters rather than plot and reveals the interior world of protagonist Laura, Mansfield’s representative, as she confronts class distinctions and considers the meaning of life and death. Born in New Zealand in 1888, Mansfield moved to England in 1909. A visit from her brother in 1915 a month before he died in World War I stirred memories of her earlier life, and she began to place many of her stories in her homeland. “The Garden-Party,” one of the stories set in New Zealand, pictures the cloudless blue sky “veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer” (534) and the karaka trees “with their broad, gleaming leaves, and their clusters of yellow fruit” (536). The first half of the story deals with preparations for the garden party: the placement of the marquee, the positioning of the pots of canna lilies, the preparation of the 15 types of party sandwiches. Mansfield uses her clear, lyrical prose to create the magnificence of the day. The rose bushes “bowed down as though they had been visited by archangels” (534), and Laura sees the karaka trees as “proud, solitary, lifting their leaves and fruits to the sun in a kind of silent splendor” (536). The attraction Laura feels toward the working class becomes apparent during her encounter with the men who come to put up the marquee. The smile of “a lanky, freckled fellow” is “so easy, so friendly” (535) that it puts her at ease. When he pinches a sprig of lavender and smells it, she reflects, “Why couldn’t she have workmen for friends rather than the silly boys she danced with and who came to Sunday night supper?” (536). Into this “perfect day” (534) intrudes the news of the death of a neighbor who lived in one of the “little cottages just below” (541). Laura decides immediately that the party must be canceled. Her sister Jose rejects the idea as foolish, and her mother seems “amused”

(543) at the suggestion. Back in her room, Laura pictures the body of the dead man being carried into his house, but the scene seems “blurred, unreal” (544), and the party activities soon crowd it out. As the family nibbles on party food after the guests have left, Mrs. Sheridan decides to send a basket of leftovers to the bereaved family and appoints Laura, who is horrified at what she considers to be her mother’s insensitivity, to make the delivery. On her way to the house, the surroundings take on symbolic meaning. She walks down the gleaming white road outside her family’s garden gates, crosses a wide road, and enters a “smoky and dark” lane (546). Approaching the house of the grieving family, Laura sees “a dark knot of people” (546). Inside she finds, to her amazement, that the dead man appears “wonderful, beautiful” (548). Later, when her brother asks about her visit, she responds, “ ‘It was simply marvelous’ ” (548), but she is unable to complete her sentence “ ‘Isn’t life—’ ” (549). She realizes that life and death are too complex to put into words—or to understand, for that matter. Mansfield wrote “The Garden-Party” while she was dying of tuberculosis. She knew life and death and the joy and grief of both. In the introduction to The Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield, J. Middleton Murray, Mansfield’s husband and primary publisher, wrote of his wife, “She loved life—with all its beauty and its pain” (xi). In “The Garden-Party” Laura experiences both the beauty and pain of life, but Mansfield, true to what George McLean Harper calls her “penetrating honesty” (232), leaves Laura at the end of the story groping for a satisfactory definition of life.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Harper, George McLean. Literary Appreciations. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1937. Mansfield, Katherine. The Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Charlotte S. Pfeiffer

GASKELL, ELIZABETH (1810–1865) The title of Arthur Pollard’s 1966 study of Elizabeth Gaskell, Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer, provides valuable insight into how her achievements have traditionally been discussed. Although she published more than 40 short stories and essays during her lifetime,


Gaskell is remembered today almost exclusively for novels such as Mary Barton (1848) and North and South (1854) and her landmark biography of Charlotte Brontë (1857). Anyone who ignores her short fiction, however, will obtain only a partial understanding of the author, for Gaskell often used her short stories to explore subjects and settings she excluded from the novels that made her famous. For this reason alone, they are worthy of far greater critical attention. Born on September 29, 1810, Elizabeth Stevenson was raised by her aunt in Knutsford, Cheshire, a town that later became a model for the fictional Cranford. At age 22 she married William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister, and moved to the industrial city of Manchester. Her first published work was the short essay “Clopton Hall,” which appeared in William Howitt’s Visits to Remarkable Places in 1840. The success of her first novel, Mary Barton, brought Gaskell to the attention of CHARLES DICKENS. A professional relationship and personal friendship between the two sprang up that, although strained at times, lasted for the rest of her life. Beginning with “LIZZIE LEIGH” in 1849, Dickens published a number of her short stories (e.g., “A MANCHESTER MARRIAGE” [1858], A DARK NIGHT’S WORK [1863]), the novel North and South, and the novella “MY LADY LUDLOW” (1858) in his periodicals Household Words and All the Year Round. By the time of her death on November 12, 1865, Gaskell had achieved substantial popularity in Great Britain and ranked among the country’s literary elite. As a novelist, Gaskell operates almost exclusively within the domain of realism. Works such as North and South offer sympathetic and detailed portrayals of mid19th-century working-class and middle-class life that were drawn in large part from her personal experiences working among the poor with her husband in Manchester. In her stories, however, she explores different eras and different settings. “The Grey Woman” (1861), for instance, takes place during the French Revolution, “The Poor Clare” (1856) harkens back to the mid1700s, and “Six Weeks at Heppenheim” (1862) is set in Germany. Gaskell also frequently incorporates elements of the gothic and supernatural into her short fiction, as in “LOIS THE WITCH” (1859), a fictional account of the Salem witch trials and one of her most striking

and fully realized tales. Other works that follow this pattern include “The OLD NURSE’S STORY” (1852) and “Curious, if True” (1860). Nine of these ghostly stories were recently collected by Penguin in the volume Gothic Tales.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Foster, Shirley. Elizabeth Gaskell: A Literary Life. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Gaskell, Elizabeth. A Dark Night’s Work and Other Stories. Edited by Suzanne Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. ———. Gothic Tales. Edited by Laura Kranzler. New York: Penguin, 2000. Martin, Carol A. “Gaskell’s Ghosts: Truth in Disguise,” Studies in the Novel 21, no. 1 (Spring 1989): 27–40. Matsuoka, Mitsuhara. The Gaskell Web Project. Available online. URL: html. Accessed on May 12, 2006. Pollard, Arthur. Mrs. Gaskell: Novelist and Biographer. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966. Stephen E. Severn

“GIOCONDA SMILE, THE” ALDOUS HUXLEY (1921) Originally published in the April 1921 issue of The English Review and later included by ALDOUS HUXLEY in Mortal Coils (1922), “The Gioconda Smile” is inspired by the story of Harold Greenwood, a man who had been acquitted of poisoning his wife. The story’s title alludes to the enigmatic grin of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa del Gioconda.” Thanks to Huxley’s adaptation of the story for the screen in 1947 (renamed A Woman’s Vengeance by Universal Studios) and subsequent dramatization for the stage in 1950, “The Gioconda Smile” has become one of the author’s most famous works. Henry Hutton, the philandering middle-aged banker at the center of Huxley’s story, having grown weary of caring for his invalid wife, prides himself on his ability attract women. The narrative opens as Hutton pays a surprise visit to his wife’s closest friend, Janet Spence. Unabashedly flirting with the 36-year-old spinster despite experiencing a profound sense of boredom in her presence, Hutton invites Janet to have lunch with him and his wife Emily the next afternoon. After kissing Janet’s hand, Henry departs, leaving Janet thoroughly


charmed by his behavior. Despite Janet’s desire to accompany Henry to his automobile, Hutton insists that he go alone, concealing the fact that his young mistress, Doris, is waiting for him. At the next afternoon’s luncheon, the normally sickly Emily Hutton feels surprisingly robust and allows herself to eat stewed currants, the digestion of which doctors had deemed too taxing for her fragile constitution. Despite Henry’s half-hearted protests, Janet insists the man allow Emily to indulge her appetite. As the Huttons’ maid brings the party their afterdinner coffee, Emily remembers that she must take her medication, and Henry volunteers to retrieve it while the women prepare their coffee. Not long after Emily takes her medicine and drinks her coffee she begins to feel ill and returns to the house to rest. While in the garden, Janet informs Henry that Emily “is dreadfully ill . . . anything might happen” (101). Despite Janet’s ominous comment and under the pretense of having made an appointment with a colleague, Henry leaves to spend the evening with Doris, dismissing Emily’s sudden illness as the inevitable result of her unwise decision to eat the stewed currants. Upon Henry’s return later in the evening, the family doctor informs him that Emily is dead; her heart, because of chronic vascular disease, could not handle the strain caused by the stewed currants. After a brief period of mourning, during which Henry appears to have reformed his libertine lifestyle, he marries Doris long before the traditional period of grieving has passed. Spurned by the object of her desire, Janet Spence accuses Henry of having poisoned his wife. After a preliminary investigation reveals traces of arsenic in the Huttons’ garden, police exhume Emily’s body and arrest Henry for murder. Responding to a doctor’s inquiry shortly after Hutton’s execution, Janet admits that it was she who had put arsenic in Emily’s coffee, presumably with the intent of marrying the newly widowed Henry herself. The short story demonstrates what Nicholas Murray has called the “morbid interest in human decay and debility . . . evident in much of Huxley’s early work” (142). Additionally, Huxley’s use of satire in “The Gioconda Smile” criticizes the hedonistic zeitgeist of the Jazz Age, in particular such prevalent social ills as infi-

delity and egocentrism. Furthermore, by writing with “the coldness of the vivisectionist” (Murray, 142), Huxley presages the hard-boiled attitude and meticulous attention to detail found in the crime fiction of James Cain, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Horace McCoy that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Clark, Virginia M. Aldous Huxley and Film. London: Scarecrow Press, 1987. Dunaway, David King. Huxley in Hollywood. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. Huxley, Aldous. Collected Short Stories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1957. Murray, Nicholas. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. London: Little, Brown, 2002. Erik Grayson

“GOOD-BYE, GOOD-BYE” ELIZABETH TAYLOR (1958) ELIZABETH TAYLOR’s poignant short story “Good-bye, Good-bye” was first published in the magazine Woman and Beauty and then collected in The Blush and Other Stories in 1958. The story’s title points to its theme of two painful farewells. These leavetakings occur between adulterous lovers, Peter and Catherine, the first recalled by Peter in retrospect, and the second occurring at the end of the story. “Good-bye” is a quintessential Taylor story for a number of reasons: It is informed by a Brontëan tale, the obsessive love of Catherine and Heathcliff in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; it is quietly dramatic, portraying a momentous event in the lives of people doing ordinary things; and it demonstrates an uncanny knowledge of children’s lives, of their fears and certainties. Only the trenchant wit in much of Taylor’s fiction is not much in evidence, as she depicts the quiet despair of an impossible love. From the story’s first words, it is infused with a sense of Peter’s urgent recklessness on the night before he leaves a second time for South Africa: “On his last evening in England he broke two promises—one, that he would dine with his brother, and another, older promise made to a woman whom he loved.” The second sentence starkly addresses the hopeless quandary of the lovers’ thwarted desire for each other: “When he and Catherine had tried, years before, to put an end to


this impermissible love for one another the best they could decide was to give it no nourishment and let it wither if it would.” Despite his promises, Peter decides to revisit the scene “where they had sometimes been together,” Catherine’s summer house by the sea. Here, the pervasive mood of repressed passion and regret is explicitly connected to the romantic Heathcliff and Catherine. Early on, Peter exclaims over Catherine’s daughter Sarah’s eyes: “ ‘Oh, Catherine’s eyes, those eyes!’ he thought. ‘The miracle, but the enormity, that they should come again; clearer, more beautiful’—he could not think it.” Readers of Wuthering Heights will remember the scene in which Heathcliff is disarmed by the eyes of the second Cathy and her cousin Hareton, which “are the eyes of Catherine Earnshaw,” as the narrating housekeeper Nelly Dean tells us. Peter’s love is unchangeable, like Heathcliff’s. Such allusions to the Brontës’ fiction are common and powerful in Taylor’s early fiction, from the gift of the book Wuthering Heights in Taylor’s first novel, At Mrs. Lippincote’s (1945), through the reworking of Jane Eyre’s governess tale in Taylor’s second novel, Palladian (1946), to the frustrated, enduring love of Catherine and Vesey in A Game of Hide-and-Seek (1954). The Brontës’ works are a marker of a shared literary inheritance between Taylor and her readers and between Taylor’s characters as well. Although Taylor’s fiction is most often compared to Jane Austen’s, Taylor in fact is much more likely to evoke the turbulent passions of the Brontës’ novels in the repressed subtext of her stories. A book of selected short stories by Taylor published in 1995 is titled Dangerous Calm. This sense of the threat pervading the ordinary informs “Good-bye, Good-bye” as well. All through the introductions to the children and their friends—“Lucy, this is Mr. Lord. He gave you your Fairy-Tale book that you love so much”—there is the secrecy of their illicit past just behind the facade of Peter the avuncular, the memory of a passion that threatened these very children’s security. In fact, Peter is not a kindly uncle but the man who—like Heathcliff to Brontë’s Catherine—was like a god to the children’s mother: “Mr. Lord.” The romantic sunset, “explosive, Turneresque brilliance above the sand-hillocks,” is backdrop to a tense, discreet inter-

play between the lovers that resonates with memories of their forbidden meetings. But the evening is experienced differently by Catherine than by Peter, even though she is deeply shaken by the encounter with her lost lover. Her eyes fill with tears when Peter praises her four children; it is her love for them that has divided Peter from her, her inability to make the children’s world unstable, much less to forsake them. In particular, Catherine identifies with her 16-year-old daughter Sarah, suffering because the boy she likes does not come to the beach that night: “ ‘It is worse for her now,’ Catherine thought, and she felt hostility towards men. ‘As it is worse for me.’ ” Catherine vacillates between thinking that Peter has become judgmental and admitting miserably to herself, as Peter plays affectionately with her little girl Lucy, “A barren evening. Nothing said; nothing felt, but pain. The wheel starting to creak again, starting to revolve in agony.” Catherine is unable to tell Peter what she feels because the children are there, and they must not know, must not be hurt: “ ‘I am in love with you still. In love, certainly. And there isn’t a way out and never will be now.’ Her eyes might say this without Lucy knowing, and she turned to him so that before he went away he could be a witness to her constancy.” Taylor’s quiet understatement, her fiction of manners, does seem informed in this passage by Austen. There is something of Jane Austen about this straining effort to communicate love despite all constraints, the resonance of Anne Elliot in Persuasion trying to tell Wentworth that she loves him without saying the words in a public place. This love, unlike Anne’s and Wentworth’s, will not end happily. In the end, the lovers must simply know that theirs is an unchanging passion because they recognize the other’s suffering. When Peter asks Catherine for her forgiveness because he has disturbed her life, she responds, “I might have done the same.” While they have “no time” to talk alone, Peter knows that Catherine “was waiting for tears to recede, her head high, breath held. If he kissed her, she would fail, would break, weep, betray herself to the children.” Peter immediately thinks “To have thought of her so long, imagined, dreamed, called that child ’Catherine’ for her sake, started at the sight of her name printed in


a book, pretended her voice to myself, called her in my sleep, and now sit close to her and it is almost over.” Their sad reunion is punctuated by the children’s picnic, by the children’s voices and needs, until the end, when Peter’s final “good-bye, good-bye” echoes that of the older children’s departing guests, as if Peter were leaving Catherine only for an evening instead of a lifetime.

milla,” the powerful person is another woman. However, in stark contrast to the youth and beauty of the women in these works, Lady Ducayne is grotesquely ugly because of her unnaturally advanced age. Even though the supply of youthful blood keeps her alive, Lady Ducayne cannot stop the aging process. This aspect of the story perhaps makes it especially pertinent to modern readers.



Taylor, Elizabeth. The Blush. London: Peter Davies, 1958. ———. Dangerous Calm: The Selected Stories of Elizabeth Taylor. Edited by Lynne Knight. London: Virago, 1995.

Stephenson, Glennis, ed. Nineteenth-Century Stories by Women: An Anthology. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press, 1993.

Deborah Deneholz Morse

Leah Larson



BRADDON (1896) Although not a vampire

The Good Times is a sequence of 20 first-person stories documenting the inner lives of working-class men and boys in Scotland. JAMES KELMAN portrays his characters empathetically in their common struggle to survive poverty, boredom, and failure with their self-respect intact. Each story evokes a distinct “male consciousness,” often by setting private, inward experience against the pressures of public situations: We encounter these men and boys in the workplace, in the schoolyard, in shops and pubs, on the subway, and in the family home. Narrated by males ranging from childhood to late middle age, a strong memento mori (“remember, you must die”) theme links the stories to larger philosophical issues. The reflections of all the protagonists—disaffected boys and yearning teenagers; a deluded 30-something divorcé; manual toilers, both embittered and cavalier; moody philosophical husbands—have a decided existential flavor, though the tone of the stories ranges from silly humor to devastating grimness. Many build toward an existential climax, involving a moment of authentic decision between resignation and a liberating sense of responsibility for one’s own fate. In “It Happened to Me Once,” an unemployed man waiting to collect his social security money is annoyed by another man waiting in line, someone he regards as a loser but in whom he recognizes his own desperate condition. The narrator’s paranoia lends the tense encounter an unbearable sense of dread and prompts a dismal epiphany.


story in the strictest sense, MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON’s “Good Lady Ducayne,” first published in the STRAND MAGAZINE in 1896, is now frequently included in vampire anthologies. In this story, Bella, a young girl, is hired as a companion to a mysterious old woman, Lady Ducayne. The pair, accompanied by Lady Ducayne’s physician, travel to Italy. There Bella becomes increasingly weak and complains of nocturnal mosquito bites. A brother and sister she meets at the Italian resort become concerned about her rapidly deteriorating condition. The brother, a physician, investigates and discovers that Lady Ducayne and her doctor have been using a machine to transfuse Bella’s blood into the old woman. Lady Ducayne is convinced that a constant supply of young blood will enable her to live forever, and it is revealed that Bella is not the first to be used for this procedure. However, unlike the other victims, Bella survives. This readable story is important because it is the first to combine traditional vampire superstitions with the Victorian interest in technology, especially in transfusion. This interest would be developed the following year in BRAM STOKER’s Dracula. Braddon’s story also contains many of the characteristics of the traditional gothic tale, including an exotic setting and an innocent young heroine who is in the thrall of a more powerful person. As in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Christabel” and SHERIDAN LE FANU’s “Car-


In contrast, in “Yeh, These Stages,” a depressed man whose girlfriend has left him wallows in self-pity before being spurred into life by a mysterious knock at the door, which he opens only to find that there is no one there. The “human absence” is an emblem of the world’s indifference to his plight; a man previously in “the kind of despair that makes suicide a positive move” realizes that the world will carry on with or without him, and he finds in this thought an invigorating sense of independence, even hope. Awareness of one’s own mortality and limitations looms large in The Good Times, and all Kelman’s characters seem to struggle toward accepting, without despair, that “they werent going to play for Rangers, they werent going to play for anybody; and they werent getting the good job, they werent getting this that or anything.” (Glasgow Rangers is one of the two dominant teams in Scottish soccer.) This struggle begins early in life. The boy narrator of “Joe Laughed” is so irritated by his friends’ senseless and “childish” behavior that he despairs of being part of society at all. In a fit of despair he imagines completely abdicating from the roles—son, friend, teammate, neighbor—that community life imposes on him. This fantasy of total withdrawal into self-absorption shows its comic potential in “Gardens Go on Forever,” in which the fanciful imagination of the narrator and the absurd conversations he has with his workmate result in one of Kelman’s funniest stories. At the end of a typically anarchic chain of daydreams, the relaxed and flippant protagonist envisages his own funeral. His oppressive job does not move this character (unlike others in the collection) to bitterness but underscores the freedom that comes with absolute existential responsibility. The narrator of “Oh My Darling” agrees: “If people do want to change their lives then it is their responsibility and not mine, nor is it anybody else’s, it’s theirs, theirs and theirs alone. But they should be happy, content, just to be living instead of not yet entering into the slipstream.” In Kelman’s view, the brute truth of the memento mori has carpe diem (“seize the day”) as its everyday meaning; life is for living, nothing more. “The Norwest Reaches” warmly evokes the humble comforts of family life, while the intrusion of social class into romantic

relationships is brilliantly captured in “Oh My Darling” and “Constellation.” “Strength” hauntingly explores the painful closeness of the long-married, when personal, individual memories and the hurt of regret have become shared property. The protagonist’s wife has a morbid fascination with a motorcycle accident from her husband’s teenage years, in which he and his then girlfriend were nearly killed. Far from feeling troubled or jealous at the thought of her husband’s former lover, she dwells uncomfortably on the relationship, wondering what might have been if not for the girlfriend’s interfering mother: “I know ye loved that wee lassie, but it doesnay bother me. Even if ye had got killed the gether, the two of ye, it still wouldnay bother me. I just admire ye both, I do.” The genuine selflessness of this sentiment is clouded over by the implication that the character would be unmoved had her future husband died before meeting her, which concedes that the married couple’s own, subsequent relationship was no kind of romantic destiny but the product of contingent circumstances. Doing without such comfortable myths (“we were made for each other”) demands the strength of the story’s title: Those myths are a kind of emotional crutch, comparable to the pouffe (footrest) the wife uses for her immediate comfort, but which, over time, the husband fears will leave her spine warped and twisted. The wife’s “raking up” of old memories is symbolically connected to her stubborn refusal to sit up straight; “ye’ll just suffer for it” is her husband’s halfpitying, half-reproving warning. The distorting effect of loneliness on a middle-aged bachelor is the topic of the collection’s most shattering story, “The COMFORT”; its deft examination of masculinity, morality, and death might almost be read as The Good Times in miniature.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kelman, James. The Good Times. New York: Anchor Books, 1999. Scott Hames

GREENE, GRAHAM (1904–1991) Born into prosperous circumstances in Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire, on October 2, 1904, Graham Greene was the son of the headmaster of Berkhampstead School. Bullied for being the headmaster’s son, the young Greene made


several suicide attempts; thanks to his psychiatrist, he began to write and made the acquaintance of several well-known authors, including WALTER DE LA MARE. Greene later attended Oxford University, where, neglecting his studies, he developed an interest in politics, joined the Communist Party, and completed his first novel, Anthony Sant, which was never published. Greene’s first successful job was as a subeditor with the Nottingham Journal. While working there he met his wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. A devout Catholic, Vivien encouraged Greene to convert to the faith in 1926. Greene began writing full time after the success of his first published novel, The Man Within (1929). His works include Brighton Rock (1938), The Heart of the Matter (1948), and The Quiet American (1955). His novels made him successful, and he lived very comfortably in London, Antibes, and Capri, separating from but never divorcing his wife. Toward the end of his life, Greene lived in Vevey, Switzerland, where he died in 1991. Although Greene is most famous for his novels and journalism, he also wrote many short stories. These have received little attention, and Greene himself seems to have encouraged this neglect. He commented that they were not to be taken seriously. Several, however, have been widely acclaimed, including “The DESTRUCTORS,” “A LITTLE PLACE OFF THE EDGWARE ROAD,” and “The INVISIBLE JAPANESE GENTLEMAN.” Critics have tended to agree that Greene was not a stylistic innovator and tended to be influenced by older masters of the short story form, including HENRY JAMES and SOMERSET MAUGHAM. Also apparent are some of the same preoccupations that appear in Greene’s novels, including, as Richard Kelly notes, “clever similes, seedy atmospheres, and recurrent themes such as innocence and betrayal” (84). Kelly is one of a number of critics who also see in Greene’s works a kind of therapeutic writing out of a troubled personal life, demonstrated by “a sense of betrayed innocence; an authoritarian and puritanical father; clever school bullies; fear of the dark, birds, and water; fear of and fascination with sexuality; fear of boredom” (84).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Greene, Graham. Collected Short Stories. London: Penguin, 1986.

Kelly, Richard. Graham Greene: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1993. Mudford, Peter. Graham Greene. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1996. Andrew Maunder

“GREEN TEA” JOSEPH SHERIDAN LE FANU (1872) The first story in SHERIDAN LE FANU’s sensation collection In a Glass Darkly. This collection of stories forms a unified whole, held together by a frame story that resurfaces at the beginning and end of each consecutive episode. Written in the wake of the so-called Sensational Sixties, In a Glass Darkly forms part of the Victorian sensation genre popularized by WILKIE COLLINS, MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON, and ELLEN WOOD. It transposes the gothic into domestic or urban settings, adding an interest in new medical, specifically psychological, theories. In the frame story, the medical secretary of the fictitious German physician Dr. Hesselius sets out to edit accounts of mysterious, enigmatically supernatural occurrences. Capitalizing on the mid-Victorian fascination with clinical treatments, psychosomatic disorders, and the increasingly problematic mind/body split, the ghost stories that follow are thus presented as medical accounts: “Here and there a case strikes me as of a kind to amuse or horrify a lay reader with an interest quite different from the peculiar one which it may possess for an expert.” As in the majority of Victorian sensation stories, horror is shown to be breaking into or, with a twist that is even more calculated to disturb, out of the mundane. This introduction of the gothic into the everyday middle-class home constitutes an important disruption of Victorian ideals of domesticity. As Lillian Nayder argues in a study of Wilkie Collins, it generates a specifically “domestic Gothic.” While the later stories in In a Glass Darkly tend to return to the foreign scenes and aristocratic trappings that characterize the 18th-century gothic genre, “Green Tea” admirably exemplifies the popularity of the Victorian domestic gothic in its choice of a suburban setting. Mr. Jennings, the unfortunate victim of supernatural phantasms, is a quiet, scholarly clergyman. His first encounter with the demon is set in an omnibus that takes him from the City, London’s commercial district,


to a quiet, upmarket Victorian suburbia. The only drugs or stimulants featured in the story are pots of the titular green tea. Connected to this projection of a disturbingly familiar horror, in which dark suburban streets, empty omnibuses, and insomnia become the signs of a developing phantasmagoria, or nightmare, is the ambiguous function of modern medical research in the story. Dr. Hesselius is the author of essays on “Metaphysical Medicine” and a follower of the 18th-century cosmologist Swedenborg. His interpretations of Jennings’s malady are influenced by his belief in metaphysics. Jennings admits that his extensive consumption of green tea has affected his nerves, which might account for his visions of the monkeylike demon that haunts him from the omnibus to his suburban home and ultimately drives him to suicide. However, whether the demon is solely the creation of dyspepsia and affected nerves or a true vision remains tantalizingly unsolved. Jennings’s reasoning proves ineffective: “ ‘I’ve been sitting up too late, and I daresay my digestion is quite wrong, and with God’s help, I shall be all right, and this is but a symptom of nervous dyspepsia.’ Did I believe all this? Not a word of it.” After Jennings’s death, Dr. Hesselius concludes that his patient inadvertently opened an “inner eye,” and yet his diagnosis of this “sublimated,” “precocious,” or “interior” vision is strictly couched in clinical terms. Similar ambiguity is central to the following stories in the book, including the influential vampire story “Carmilla.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Harris, Sally. “Spiritual Warnings: The Ghost Stories of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,” Victorians Institute Journal 31 (2003): 9–39. Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan. In a Glass Darkly. London: John Lehman, 1947. McCormack, W. J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Stroud, England: Sutton, 1997. Nayder, Lillian. Wilkie Collins. London: Prentice Hall, 1997. Tamara Wagner

“GREVILLE FANE” HENRY JAMES (1892) “Greville Fane” is from the group of stories that HENRY JAMES published during the 1890s in which he explored the relationship between the writer and the critic. Yet

while the story is a portrait of the artist, it was also conceived as a joke at the expense of parents who vainly prepare their offspring to follow in their own footsteps. This second, comic aspect of the narrative turns the story (as James admitted) into an anecdote. This effect was, probably, James’s intention. Whereas his other literary portraits, such as “The FIGURE IN THE CARPET,” appeared in highbrow or avant-garde publications, “Greville Fane” featured in the popular, mainstream journal the Illustrated London News. Nevertheless, critics have emphasized James’s unusually sympathetic portrait of his protagonist, the female novelist. The story is narrated by a book reviewer who is employed to write an obituary of Mrs. Stormer. Stormer is a romantic author who, while writing under the pseudonym Greville Fane, has managed a household and raised a family. The critic personally likes her (“a dull, kind woman”), although he despairs of her work: “She could invent stories by the yard, but she couldn’t write a page of English.” Fane is not without skill; what she lacks is a sense of art as struggle: “[G]enius always pays for the gift, feels the debt, and she was placidly unconscious of obligation.” Instead, Fane prefers to think of herself as “a common pastry cook, dealing in such tarts and puddings as would bring customers to the shop.” Despite her artistic shortcomings, Fane is regarded affectionately by James’s narrator. In this respect, she resembles woman-novelists, such as MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON, MARGARET OLIPHANT, and Mrs. Humphrey Ward, whom James admired for their industry in spite of their uneven talent. Fane’s matronly qualities contrast her with the sexually provocative NEW WOMAN, such as GEORGE EGERTON, whom James described as writers of “the larger latitude.” Though written in a lighter vein, the story shares with “The Private Life” (also published in 1892) the attempt to distinguish the writer from the authorial persona. Here, this distinction allows James to explore the sadness behind Fane’s celebrity: Mrs. Stormer’s misguided attempt to train her son, Leolin, to be a great novelist. She shows him the sights of Europe, but Leolin grows up to be lazy and self-indulgent. After his mother’s death, Leolin ransacks her unpublished papers to make money. James compounds Mrs. Stormer’s misery by portraying her daughter, Ethel, as a


snobbish and spoiled girl who disdains her mother’s writing while drawing upon her fortune. Though the depiction of Leolin and Ethel is scathing, the satire is at Mrs. Stormer’s expense, in particular, her belief that talent can be acquired. Instead, James reaffirms the claim from his essay “The Art of Fiction” (1884) that artistic genius is inherent: “The deepest quality of a work of art will always be the quality of the mind of its producer” (182). Though Mrs. Stormer’s foolishness adds to her humanity (in contrast with her children), at the end of the story the focus moves away from her abilities as a writer to her virtues as a mother. Consequently, having begun as a consideration of the woman writer, the story ends as a speculation on motherhood.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chapman, Sara S. Henry James’ Portrait of the Writer as Hero. Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 1990. James, Henry. “Greville Fane.” In The Complete Tales of Henry James, vol. 8, edited by Leon Edel, 433–452. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1963. James, Henry. “The Art of Fiction.” Longmans Magazine 4 (September 1884): 180–186. ———. “The Art of Fiction.” In The Critical Muse: Selected Literary Criticism, edited by Roger Gard, 186–204. London: Penguin, 1987. Paul March Russell

GREYHOUND FOR BREAKFAST JAMES KELMAN (1987) JAMES KELMAN’s second book of stories is his largest and most diverse. Varied in tone, style, length, and intensity, the collection shows a writer experimenting with a range of techniques and subjects and discovering the strength of his talent in a few powerfully realized short works. The extremely short stories include both realistic urban tableaux capturing snapshots of working-class life and enigmatic, highly stylized fragments that show the influence of surrealism and absurdism. A brief sketch of a young married man’s temptation by a prostitute, “dear o dear,” is a concrete prose poem arranged as a silhouette of the shape of a streetwalker. “A Sunday Evening” provides a morbidly tender window into the intimacy and monotony of settled domestic routine. Here, and throughout the volume, Kelman captures an extraordinarily deep sense of his characters’ subjectivity, often

at moments of inner drama within outwardly mundane situations. Many stories show men and boys in moments of solitude, attempting, and usually failing, to seize small freedoms from “ordinary” contexts of unfreedom, be it economic, social, or sexual. The narrator of “Getting Outside” wavers between “bloodcurdling screams of horror” and strict control of his emotions, as he escapes a tense situation inside a house only to be faced, outside, with an equally anxious private one. Enduring the situation counts as a tiny victory for this character. The theme of survival hauntingly recurs in “A History,” in which an evening stroll by the beach prompts the protagonist’s detached, overly tidy meditations on time and fate. This train of thought, but not the coolly ambivalent narrative voice that conveys it, is disturbed by the memory of finding a drowned man along the same stretch of beach. The narrator dwells on the particulars of the body’s imagined history but steers clear of sentimentality. Whether the detached tone he adopts is a sign of coldness or of stoical resignation is left ambiguous, as is the nature of the narrator’s sympathy as he continues to muse: “He would have been dead in twenty minutes, maybe less. If I had been God I would have allowed him to survive for twenty hours.” Is this imaginary postponement supposed to allow the man time enough to save himself or simply to prolong his struggle against an implacable fate? Which does the narrator value more highly: human life or the futile impulse to preserve it? We are left uncertain, and disturbed. In “Greyhound for Breakfast,” a grown man also finds solace in loneliness after a doomed attempt, worthy of a schoolboy, to reinvent himself as a dog-racing man. This experimental collection shows the emergence of Kelman’s characteristic thematic and formal interests and points toward the disciplined but expansive style of The GOOD TIMES.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kelman, James. Greyhound for Breakfast. London: Secker & Warburg, 1987. Scott Hames

“GUESTS OF THE NATION” FRANK O’CONNOR (1931) Published originally in Atlantic Monthly and then in a collection of stories also titled


Guests of the Nation (1931), this is the most widely read and commonly anthologized of FRANK O’CONNOR’s works. In this story, set during the Anglo-Irish War (1919– 21), the narrator, Bonaparte, and his fellow Irish soldiers, Noble and Donovan, are charged with guarding two English prisoners. The two Englishmen, Belcher and Hawkins, live in relative comfort in the home of an elderly Irishwoman, playing cards with their hosts in the evenings, sharing in household chores, and living more as welcome guests than as prisoners. To his profound distress, Bonaparte learns from Donovan that they must execute their “guests” in reprisal for the English killing of Irish prisoners. Donovan shoots both prisoners, but Hawkins survives and Bonaparte has to kill him with a bullet to the head. The story closes with Bonaparte feeling lost and alone, changed forever by the terrible experience. Although O’Connor was an ardent Irish patriot, “Guests of the Nation” focuses not on the Irish cause but rather on the inhumanity of war more generally. “Guests” is essentially an initiation story: Early on, the youthful protagonist longs to join a fighting brigade, but when he reaches his painful epiphany at the story’s end, Bonaparte is clearly disabused of any youthful romanticism about war. The central theme of the story lies in the conflict between duty and friendship. O’Connor shows that while in other circumstances these Irish and British soldiers might be fast friends, duty to their cause dictates that the Irish soldiers must effectively murder their “guests,” who are enemies only in name. O’Connor emphasizes the humanity of the English prisoners through carefully developed charac-

terization that highlights their differences: Belcher is large, reticent, and happily domestic, while Hawkins is small, loquacious, and concerned with international politics and religion. In the end, Bonaparte learns that doing one’s duty in war can have life-altering consequences and that the soldier’s business in war is essentially murder. As the story’s title suggests, one of its hallmarks is irony. Among the most notable ironies is how thoroughly friendly Bonaparte and Noble become with the English prisoners—the persistent use of the word “chum” by both English and Irish characters becomes intensely ironic as the story progresses. Rather than confront one another as truly hostile opponents, the four men engage in the friendly competition of card games and the sorts of arguments over politics and religion that occur between pals in any corner tavern. Irony is paramount when Hawkins, a self-professed communist, and the Irish Catholic Noble discuss politics and religion in such a civil fashion, since politics and religion were, of course, central to the larger Anglo-Irish conflict. The many rich and pervasive ironies reward rereading, and the grim denouement has a powerful impact: “Guests” stays with the reader long after the initial reading.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Evans, Robert C., and Richard Harp, eds. Frank O’Connor: New Perspectives. West Cornwall, Conn.: Locust Hill, 1998. McKeon, Jim. Frank O’Connor: A Life. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1998. Sheehy, Maurice, ed. Michael/Frank: Studies on Frank O’Connor. London: Macmillan, 1969. Chip Rogers




(1859) Published in the collection ROUND THE

SOFA and Other Tales (1859), “The Half Brothers” is, as its title suggests, about two brothers, and it recalls those Old Testament brothers divided by enmity: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers. However, this story of brothers is one of faithful love, a tale that embodies Christian self-sacrifice and forgiveness as it portrays one brother as a savior. As in many of ELIZABETH GASKELL’s stories, the mother’s love is redemptive, while the father’s harshness is fatal, a sin for which he ultimately repents. Gaskell’s tale is told in the first person by the younger brother about his half-brother Gregory. The narrator, who never gives his name, has been the petted child of his mother’s second marriage to a wealthy farmer, William Preston. His older brother Gregory is the son of his mother’s first marriage, when she was only 17, to a young farmer who died of consumption three years after the marriage. Gregory is the only surviving child of this union, born after his father’s death and just a week after his older sister died of scarlet fever. The mother’s grief at the double loss of husband and daughter is so intense that she is “just stunned with this last blow.” She is unable to cry until Gregory is born, when she weeps “day and night, day and night.” Gregory is then everything to her, and “she seemed after that to think of nothing but her new little baby.” The story issues from this mother’s intense love for her children, a love that triumphs over the cold harsh-

ness of her second husband. William Preston is jealous of his pretty wife’s passionate love for Gregory when she clearly does not love him, although “a more dutiful wife, I have heard him himself say, could never have been.” The farmer “wanted her to love him more, and perhaps that was all well and good; but he wanted her to love her child less, and that was an evil wish.” Eventually, Preston viciously “cursed and swore” at Gregory, and his tirade brings on the early birth of Gregory’s half-brother. After this, the narrator tells us that his Aunt Fanny declared that her sister “Helen did not wish to live, and so just let herself die away without trying to take hold on life.” Before Helen dies, she enjoins Gregory to love his baby brother. Gregory grows up neglected and scorned. He is “lumpish and loutish, awkward and ungainly, marring whatever he meddled in, and many a hard word and sharp scolding did he get from the people about the farm. . . . I am ashamed—my heart is sore to think how I fell into the fashion of the family, and slighted my poor orphan step-brother.” But Gregory, who is termed “sulky” and “stupid” even by his Aunt Fanny, is praised by Adam the shepherd, who “said he had never seen a lad like him.” Adam, named for the father of mankind, is the first good father Gregory has known, and the boy flourishes as a shepherd under his loving tutelage. Adam’s faith in Gregory is justified when Gregory rescues his younger brother, who is desperately lost at night in a snowstorm on the fells. Gregory appears like the



Good Shepherd himself, “wrapped in his maud,” and he and his collie Lassie—who has also been abused by Mr. Preston—together save Gregory’s young brother. Gregory gives his cloak to his brother, and he himself freezes to death, his last words to his brother a remembrance of their mother’s deathbed wish that they love each other. The narrator’s father is utterly transformed by Gregory’s sacrifice. He cries for the first time in the story, painful, “unwonted” tears that connect his grieving for Gregory to his wife’s mourning for her dead little girl. Gregory’s “still, cold face” links him to the narrator’s previous description of his dead half-sister’s “pretty, pale, dead face,” the beloved, imagined faces their narrating brother recalls. Preston’s final tribute to the courageous boy he scorned is twofold. His last words are “God forgive me my hardness of heart towards the fatherless child!” and after his death his family finds instructions that he is to be buried at the foot of Gregory’s grave. The final act of repentance, though, is the narrator’s. His words serve as testament to the power of the Word. In recording Gregory’s act of brotherly love, the narrator pays homage both to him and to their mother, whose love engendered such self-sacrifice.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Elizabeth Gaskell. Round the Sofa. London: Sampson, Law, 1859. Deborah Denenholz Morse

“HAMMER OF GOD, THE” G. K. CHESTER(1910) A short story by G. K. CHESTERTON originally published in The Story-Teller magazine in 1910, published in America’s The Saturday Evening Post in 1919 as “A Bolt from the Blue” and collected in The Innocence of Father Brown in 1911. This story is the fourth to feature as a detective the unassuming Roman Catholic priest Father Brown, who solves crimes through his knowledge of evil in everyday life. The plot concerns two brothers, Colonel Bohun, a drunkard and playboy, and Reverend Bohun, curate of an Anglican church. The story commences with the Reverend Bohun meeting Colonel Bohun in the town square as the minister is on his way to church and the military man is making his way to continue an adulterous affair with the blacksmith’s wife. The reverend cas-


tigates the colonel for his blasphemous ways and continues on to the church to engage in prayer, only to be interrupted by the news that his brother has been struck dead in the square. The body is lying in the center of the square with its skull completely flattened, and a tiny hammer is found next to the body. Father Brown arrives on the scene just as the town’s suspicion focuses on the blacksmith, who turns out to have a firm alibi for the time of death. The blacksmith, a staunch Presbyterian, proffers a biblically accented theory that God smote the colonel down in punishment for his sins. Father Brown assures the townspeople that a man has committed the crime but that the joke that the blacksmith threw the hammer from the next town comes closest to the true explanation of it. The priest then escorts the minister to the top of the church steeple, where he confronts him with his knowledge that the minister himself murdered his brother by dropping the small hammer from that great height. He further tells the reverend that he will make no mention of the crime’s solution, offering the man a chance to redeem himself. The story ends with the curate confessing his guilt to the police. Like Chesterton’s other Father Brown stories, “The Hammer of God” offers symbolic imagery and metaphysical ruminations along with a murderer who has been established as the least likely suspect. Echoing the biblical story of Cain and Abel, Chesterton portrays Reverend Bohun as confused by the great height of the church into believing he had the authority of God to choose who deserves life and who death. A description of the gothic architecture of the church edifice as offering a “topsy-turvy” view of the world melds with a larger statement about the dizzying heights offered by a religiosity cut off from human compassion. Father Brown offers the curate a paradox: “Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.” But ultimately, the curate comes across as a fundamentally good man, who repents for his crime by asserting his free will over his false conception of himself as godhead.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Chesterton, G. K. The Innocence of Father Brown. New York: Quiet Vision Press, 2001. Jennifer A. Halloran


“HAPPY PRINCE, THE” OSCAR WILDE (1888) Arguably the most popular of OSCAR WILDE’s fairy tales, “The Happy Prince” is the first story in The Happy Prince and Other Tales, which was published in 1888. The narrative, which has been favorably compared to the work of Hans Christian Andersen and Andrew Lang, tells of the transformation of a swallow and a young prince. The story begins with the swallow’s decision to leave his earthbound wife, a reed, to join his fellow birds in Egypt. Having waited in the hope that his wife would accompany him, the bird migrates alone. After a day’s flight, he seeks shelter from the elements beneath the bejeweled statue of a young man and falls asleep. Falling water awakens the swallow, who finds that the annoying moisture is not rain but teardrops from the statue’s sapphire eyes. The beautiful prince explains that he grew up removed from ordinary concerns in the palace of Sans Souci and knew only human happiness; however, since he was now outside that cultivated environment, he saw the grief of the people he had ruled and wept for their sorrows, despite having a leaden heart. The swallow becomes, reluctantly, the prince’s messenger. The bird takes the rubies that adorn the prince’s sword to a seamstress whose son is ill, delivers the prince’s sapphire eyes to a poet starving in a garret, and gives the gold leaf that covers the statue to the poor of the city. Eventually, however, the bird dies in the cold, and the statue of the prince grows shabby. The mayor tears down the statue and has it melted for a new monument. As the mayor and the town councillors squabble over which of them deserves the honor, a workman notices that the leaden heart has not melted and discards it. An angel from heaven finds the dead bird and the rejected heart to be the most valuable items in the city, and God grants the bird and the prince eternal life in the garden of paradise. The fairy tale, whose moralism seems antithetical to Wilde’s aesthetic (see AESTHETICISM), is consistent with Wilde’s sense of art. The genre, which may seem as simple as the lines of an Oriental drawing, has additionally a self-contained beauty: complete in itself and internally balanced. Paradoxically, the form presents truth without a slavish imitation of real life.

Short narrative, and the fairy story in particular, seem well suited to Wilde’s talent as a raconteur: These forms are compact and to the point, and they can blend sheer delight with surprising depth. Some critics, however, see Wilde’s success as a teller of fairy tales (whatever their appeal to an adult audience) as a symptom of his emotional immaturity. Another view might be that Wilde was playing with his audience in presenting a serious message for adults in a seemingly frivolous form for children. Paradox is an important element in “The Happy Prince.” Although the statue has a heart of lead, it is purer than the gold leaf that clothes the body of the statue, and the prince’s artificial heart is more sympathetic than the human hearts within the presumably democratic leaders of the town. The metal heart is closer to the biblical heart of flesh than the living prince’s heart was. The prince has a greater beauty after stripping himself of his outward attractions; the nobility of his soul is greater than that of his blood. The allegedly democratic rulers of the town, the mayor and the council, lack that inherent nobility of action and show less concern for the poor than does the aristocratic prince. Finally, the two most precious items in the city are on a dust heap; they seem to the inhabitants to be useless now that they have been used to improve the lot of the poor. All the good the prince and the swallow have done seems to have been for nothing, but it earns them a great reward. Christian commentators on the story have seen the prince as a Christ figure who empties himself as a sacrifice for others. These critics also see “The Happy Prince” as a fable of a transformation from selfish interest to agape, the highest form of love. The prince has been aware only of aesthetic beauty; the bird cares only for himself. The sight of the unfortunate brings them to express a generalized love for humanity fully and unselfishly. Like Christ, the prince ultimately dies for his people. Some have seen in this story a blend of Pater’s valuation of ancient Greek ideals with Christian principles. The emphasis on physical beauty comes from Pater’s thought, while the later emphasis on spiritual beauty comes from Christianity. Other recent commentators have focused on the elements of the story that seem to


express Wilde’s sexual preference, and some look at the tale as a coded coming out. The fact that the swallow leaves his wife and keeps the company of a handsome young man has received emphasis and attention, as has the fact that none of the marriages in The Happy Prince and Other Tales produce offspring. Queer theorists see childless marriages in literature as a way of masking homosexual union, and other scholars have seen in the friendship between the prince and the swallow a veiled but unmistakable indication of sexual preference. They class this story with other Victorian literature in which strong same-sex friendship is a cover for homosexual love. The emphasis on the aesthetic beauty of the prince’s statue and the growing sensitivity of the prince are also seen as peculiarly homosexual concerns. Those who draw on Wilde’s biography note that he once remarked that his fairy stories were not just for children but also for a particular kind of adult, one who presumably could break the code. Wilde himself, however, argued that life imitates art, rather than the reverse, and he saw in this tale a prefiguring of his transformation from the carefree, possibly careless, celebrity to the wiser and more compassionate man who emerged from Reading Gaol.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Duffy, John-Charles. “Gay-Related Themes in Wilde’s Fairy Tales,” Victorian Literature and Culture 29 (2001): 327–349. Knight, G. Wilson. “Christ and Wilde.” In Oscar Wilde: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Richard Ellman, 138–149. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. Martin, Robert K. “Oscar Wilde and the Fairy Tale: ‘The Happy Prince’ as Self-Dramatization,” Studies in Short Fiction 16 (1979): 74–77. Wilde, Oscar. Complete Shorter Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Karen Keck

HARDY, THOMAS (1840–1928) On June 2, 1840, Thomas Hardy was born to Thomas and Jemima Hand Hardy in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, and into the old Dorchester family. Encouraged by his mother in his love of reading, the young Hardy read Dryden’s Virgil at age 10 and attended the village school. Hardy

later graduated from the British School at Dorchester, where he had received a strong education grounded in the classics under the direction of Wiliam Barnes, a Dorchester schoolmaster and a poet of some distinction. At age 16 Hardy became the apprentice to an architect who specialized in church restoration. During this period, Hardy made the acquaintance of his great friend, Horace Moule. The Cambridge-educated Moule encouraged Hardy’s literary inclinations and promoted his friend’s career as an author. While employed as an assistant architect in London, Hardy read furiously at the British Museum in his spare time, and he began his lifelong passion of writing poetry before beginning his attempts at fiction. All of his early attempts to publish his poetry in periodicals failed. Returning to Dorset because of ill health in 1867, he wrote his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady; aware that the public craved fiction over poetry, he desired to be a successful author, a goal he believed could be achieved only in prose. His first novel being rejected by publishers and consequently lost, Hardy went on to publish anonymously the sensational Desperate Remedies (1871), which earned a passionless reception from the reviewers. Despite this inauspicious beginning, Hardy has come to be perhaps the most renowned English man of letters of his time. Having a worldwide reputation, he is regarded as one of the major late 19th-century novelists and an influential force as an early 20th-century poet. In 1870, Hardy met Emma Lavinia Gifford, whom he married September 17, 1874. Their early marriage was happy, but they later grew apart as Hardy’s literary, philosophical, and theological interests drew him further into questioning his faith; ultimately, after the the 1876 suicide of Moule, his atheism and sadness at the loss of his friend cast a shadow over Hardy’s remaining life and work. By now, Hardy was well known in literary circles, and among his best friends were Edmund Gosse, the country’s most influential literary critic, and the author James Barrie. In 1885, after the publication of The Trumpet Major (1880) and Two on a Tower (1882), Hardy returned to Dorchester and Max Gate, the Victorian mansion he had designed himself. Despondent in his marriage, Hardy was guaranteed fame if not happiness by his tragic novel The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)


and the mellower The Woodlanders (1887) He continued to write throughout his life, producing a total of 14 novels that were both serialized in leading periodicals of the day and published in traditional two- and three-volume formats and later in one-volume form. By the early 1890s, Hardy’s career was at its peak, but he balked at the respectability imposed on him as a novelist. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891), Hardy consciously rebelled against his public and critics. The novel provoked a furious reaction that was only eclipsed by Hardy’s final novel, Jude the Obscure (1895). In an attempt to enter public debate over the issues of authorship, responsibility, and morality, Hardy participated in various periodical forums on the subject of writing fiction; perhaps the most important of these was an essay he wrote for the New Review in January 1890, “Candour in English Fiction,” which clearly states his belief that the task of the writer to create an honest portrayal of life. His other important essays include “The Dorsetshire Labourer” (Longman’s Magazine, 1883), “The Profitable Reading of Fiction” (Forum, 1888), and “The Science of Fiction” (New Review, 1891). Aside from his novels, Hardy was a prolific writer of short stories; he wrote 53 short stories, often for the MAGAZINE market, before collecting 37 in four volumes: WESSEX TALES: Strange, Lively, and Commonplace (six short stories written between 1879 and 1888 published in one and two volumes in 1888, including the much-anthologized “THE WITHERED ARM”), A Group of Noble Dames (10 short stories written between 1878 and 1890 published in 1891), Life’s Little Ironies: A Set of Tales with Some Colloquial Sketches Entitled “A Few Crusted Characters” (nine short stories written between 1882 and 1893 published in 1894, including “ON THE WESTERN CIRCUIT” and “THE MELANCHOLY HUSSAR OF THE GERMAN LEGION”), and A Changed Man, The Waiting Supper, and Other Tales (12 short stories written between 1881 and 1900 published in 1913). These collections of short fiction were both well received and illustrative of the narrative techniques, themes, issues, folklore, and characters found in his novels (see “THE ROMANTIC ADVENTURES OF A MILKMAID”). Other stories, notably “AN INDISCRETION IN THE LIFE OF AN HEIRESS” (1878), were never collected by Hardy into a volume but have also come to be much studied.

Hardy claimed that a “story must be exceptional enough to justify its telling. We tale-tellers are all Ancient Mariners, and none of us is warranted in stopping Wedding Guests . . . unless he has something more unusual to relate than the ordinary experience of every average man and woman” (Brady, 4). Although sometimes uneven in quality—often under the pressure of publishing deadlines for periodicals—the tales are expressions of everyday life and its difficulties in Wessex (Hardy’s fictional Dorset) as well as expressive of his all-encompassing beliefs in the importance of law, social justice, the plight of children (especially when illegitimate), the victimizing power of public opinion, and the role of family history in the life of an individual. Hardy’s characters—in both his short and his long fiction—are posed at the nexus of a complex web of social intricacies, and his portraits challenge the inconsistencies in Victorian mores and conventions. Editors often viewed them as too outspoken for Victorian audiences. For example, A Group of Noble Dames was intended for serialization in the Graphic in 1890; upon receipt of the manuscript, the assistant editor, William Locker, wrote to Hardy that the directors of the paper had been offended by the collection because “Many fathers are accustomed to read or have read to their family-circles the stories in the Graphic; and I cannot think that they would approve for this purpose a series of tales almost every one of which turns upon questions of childbirth, and those relations between the sexes over which conventionality is accustomed . . . to draw a veil” (Millgate, 72). He then demanded that Hardy make major revisions to “Barbara of the House of Grebe,” “The Marchioness of Stonehenge,” “Anna, Lady Baxby,” and “The Lady Icenway,” while the last two stories, “Squire Petrick’s Lady” and “Lady Mottisfont,” were completely rejected. The humiliation for an author of Hardy’s standing was almost unbearable. He believed in an ethics of compassion and strove to drive his readers away from complacent assumptions and conventional, unquestioned reactions to the realities of human existence if only the editors would allow his fictions to stand as he had conceived them rather than bowdlerize them for publication. Following the extensive compromises he had to make in order to see A Group of Noble Dames, Tess, and


Jude published, and after the intensely controversial reception of Tess and Jude, Hardy turned away from writing fiction for good in order to return to his first love, poetry. After the publication of The Dynasts (1903–6), Hardy declined the offer of a knighthood and was, instead, awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed on an author by the Crown, the Order of Merit, in 1910. In 1912, Emma died, and Hardy felt a profound sense of guilt over the last years of their marriage; however, less than two years later, on February 10, 1914, Hardy married Florence Emily Dugdale, who was 37 years his junior. In addition to scores of letters and notebooks, Hardy left an autobiography in two volumes, The Early Years of Thomas Hardy 1840–1891 and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy 1892–1928, which was published posthumously under the name of Florence Emily Hardy in 1928 and 1930, respectively; they have since been republished and reedited as his own work in one volume, The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy. At his death in 1928, Thomas Hardy’s ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart was buried in his first wife’s grave.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Brady, Kristin. The Short Stories of Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan, 1982. Hardy, Thomas. Collected Short Stories. London: Macmillan, 1888. ———. A Group of Noble Dames. London: Osgood, 1891. ———. Life’s Little Ironies. London: Osgood, 1894. ———. Wessex Tales. London: Macmillan, 1888. Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Ray, Martin. Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1997. Widdowson, Peter. Thomas Hardy. Plymouth, England: Northcote House, 1996. Sara Maier

HARLAND, HENRY (1861–1905)

Although American by birth (brought up in Connecticut and New York) Henry Harland moved to Britain in 1889. There, as editor of the YELLOW BOOK (April 1894–April 1897), Harland shaped the British short story through his selections and his peevish criticism. The Yellow

Book’s prospectus declared, “It will publish no serials; but its complete stories will sometimes run to a considerable length in themselves.” Harland had a personal stake in the Yellow Book: He was a writer himself, producing small corpus of dated, stylized work. The mannered stories in A Latin-Quarter Courtship (1889), Grey Roses (1895), and Comedies and Errors (1898) fall into two categories: reminiscences of the Latin Quarter and tales of nonexistent Eastern European royalty. At least one of his own short stories appeared in each of the 13 quarterly volumes of the Yellow Book, and he often paid contributors out of his own pocket. Writers of the 1890s identified Harland with the art of the short story. Richard Le Gallienne, a regular contributor to the Yellow Book, recalled Harland “excitedly propounding the dernier mot on the build of the short story or the art of prose. . . . The polishing of his prose was for him his being’s end and aim, and I have often seen him at that sacred task of a forenoon, in his study-bedroom, still in pajamas and dressing-gown, with a coffee-pot on the hearth, bending over an exquisite piece of handwriting, like a goldsmith at his bench.” More distinguished writers shared this view. HENRY JAMES, for instance, called Harland “The Story-teller at Large” in an essay remarking how the short story had “of late become an object of almost extravagant dissertation” (650). Harland’s only signed, published remarks on the art of the short story appeared in the Academy for July 1897. This essay, “Concerning the Short Story,” distinguishes between the “normal man” and the “artist.” The normal man or “manufacturer” of fiction is content to work with “idea” or an “incident,” while the artist begins with an “impression.” This “is never a simple thing, which can be conveyed in two minutes’ conversation. It is never an obvious thing. It is always a complex thing, it is always elusive. It is a thing of shades and niceties and fine distinctions.” Moreover, brevity alone does not make a story a short story, distinguished as art: A “story is a short story, no matter how many pages it may cover, in which you have expressed your impression with the greatest possible economy of means. The manufacturer’s economy was an economy of matter; the artist’s economy must be an economy of means.” For such reasons, “the short story will never be popular in England.”

182 HARTLEY, L. P.

One of Harland’s most notoriously successful fictions was his own biography. Though born and brought up in Connecticut and New York, he claimed to have been born in St. Petersburg and educated at the University of Paris. So goes the account that persisted in the Dictionary of National Biography until its 2004 revision. Beckson, Karl. Henry Harland: His Life and Work. London: 1890s Society, 1978. Harland, Henry. The Cardinal’s Snuff Box. London: John Lane, 1900. ———. “Concerning the Short Story,” Academy (June 5, 1897): 6–7. ———. Comedies and Errors. London: John Lane, 1898. ———. Grey Roses. London: John Lane, 1895. ———. A Latin-Quarter Courtship. London: Cassell, 1889. James, Henry. “The Story-Teller at Large,” Fortnightly Review 69 (April 11, 1898): 650–654. Mix, Katherine Lyon. A Study in Yellow: The Yellow Book and Its Contributors. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1960. “What the ‘Yellow Book’ Is to Be—Some Meditations with Its Editors,” Sketch 5 (April 11, 1894): 557–558.

tions between Hartley’s novels and stories, but even though his novels often had their beginnings in his stories, he viewed the stories as important works in themselves, and he concentrated a great deal on their structures, pacing, and details. Indeed, although the settings and characters are similar in Hartley’s stories and novels, the stories typically explore situations and themes that are considerably more gothic than those treated in the novels. In the manner of his acknowledged influences—Edgar Allan Poe, CHARLOTTE BRONTË, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and HENRY JAMES— Hartley emphasizes psychological issues that are brought to a crisis by preternatural influences. In his most macabre stories, Hartley moves beyond the gothic into the horror genre. Of his gothic stories, “Two for the River,” in which the spirit of a house objects to being sold and responds in a violent manner, and “Someone in the Lift,” in which a young boy inadvertently kills his father, who is dressed as Santa Claus, are among his most fully realized efforts. Of his horror stories, “The Killing Bottle,” “Night Fears,” “Please Do Not Touch,” and “The Travelling Grave” are among the most chillingly effective.

Winnie Chan



HARTLEY, L. P. (1895–1972)

Born in Whittesley in Cambridgeshire, Leslie Poles Hartley served in the British army from 1916 to 1918 but did not see combat. After his discharge, he completed a B.A. at Balliol College of Oxford University in 1922. Although he tutored at a preparatory school in the early 1920s and lectured at Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1964, for the most part he concentrated on his writing. He inherited a financial interest in a brickworks from his father, and it provided him with a comfortable income that made it unnecessary for him to teach or to seek other work to supplement his earnings from his books. In addition to being a prolific author of novels chronicling the manners, habits, attitudes, and mores of upper-middle-class British society in the early to mid-20th century—The Shrimp and the Anemone (1944), Eustace and Hilda (1947), and The Go-Between (1953) are the best known—he also published several collections of short stories. There are many connec-

Hartley, L. P. Complete Short Stories of L. P. Hartley. London: Beaufort Books, 1973. ———. Collected Macabre Stories. Leyburn: Tartarus Press, 2001. ———. The Killing Bottle. London: Putnam, 1932. ——— Mrs. Carteret Receives and Other Stories. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1971. ——— Night Fears and Other Stories. London: Putnam, 1924. ——— The Travelling Grave. London: Arkham House, 1948. ———. Two for the River. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1961. ———. The White Wand and Other Stories. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1954. Jones, E. T. L. P. Hartley. Boston: Twayne, 1978. Wright, Adrian. Foreign Country: The Life of L. P. Hartley. London: A. Deutch, 1996. Martin Kich

“HAUNTED HOUSE, A” VIRGINIA WOOLF (1921) In 1921 VIRGINIA WOOLF published her first collection of short stories, titled MONDAY OR TUESDAY, which included “A Haunted House” as the opening


piece. Although she continued to publish short fiction, this proved to be the only collection of such work published in her lifetime. Leonard Woolf, her husband, later chose the story for inclusion in the posthumous A Haunted House and Other Stories (1944). Just 10 paragraphs long, “A Haunted House” depicts an unnamed, ungendered character who perceives (or perhaps dreams) that a loving but long-deceased couple haunts the country house he or she inhabits. Centuries ago, a woman died there, and her lover left for faraway lands, returning only in death. Reunited, the pair now wander around the rooms and the surrounding gardens, reminiscing to each other about the past, searching for “their joy.” This search disturbs the contemporary couple currently in residence: As they try to sleep or read, they sense movement—doors opening and shutting, the ghosts walking, the house beating as if it were a human heart. Formally, the story resembles a prose poem more than a traditional narrative. Several repeated lines (“safe, safe, safe”) act as refrains, and repeated phrases (“treasure buried”) serve as poetic conceits, or unifying metaphors. The structure also prefigures the stream-of-consciousness style and seamless use of multiple points of view that Woolf perfected in novels like Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and The Waves (1931). As in these other texts, here she creates a collage of bits of dialogue, forcing the reader to unravel the identity of each speaker or pronoun. Sometimes the ghosts speak to each other; sometimes they speak to the inhabitants of the house. Likewise, sometimes the couple speaks to each other; sometimes they speak to the ghosts; sometimes they speak directly to the reader. The action, however, occurs not in the plot but in the thematic amalgamation. Concerns more fully explored in later Woolf works, including sensual perceptions of the natural world, the relationships between individuals, and a preoccupation with mortality, gestate in “A Haunted House.” Our inability to decide conclusively whether the narrator imagines, dreams, or actually witnesses any supernatural phenomenon echoes The TURN OF THE SCREW (1897), a novella by HENRY JAMES in which an interpretation of the story hinges on an evaluation of the protagonist’s sanity and

trustworthiness. Like James, Woolf reacts against the constricting social mores of Victorian society: In contrast to the repressive atmosphere of late 19th-century England, an exuberant sexuality infuses this story, from its descriptions of light altering the colors of apples, leaves, and roses, traditional symbols of carnal love and knowledge, to the ghosts’ recollections of their “kisses without number.” These traces of romantic pleasure may stem from the house’s real-life inspiration—Asheham, an estate in Sussex rented by Woolf and her sister in 1911. Virginia and Leonard courted along its grounds, and they spent their first night as a married couple beneath its roof. But Asheham itself iterates Talland House, where Woolf summered happily as a child and to which she imaginatively returns throughout her oeuvre (Lee, 25). However, an unease permeates the story, reminding us that the house is, after all, haunted. “A Haunted House” concludes with the narrator waking in the night, frantic, crying out. Indeed, Woolf rented Asheham after her doctors advised her to leave London to recuperate from a mental breakdown, and the story might therefore be read as a portrayal of someone suffering from psychological torment. Published just two years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended WORLD WAR I, the story also reflects a very real loss: Close to 3 million soldiers suffered casualties, almost 1 million fatally, during the socalled Great War. A whole generation of European men and women lay buried, and their ephemeral sacrifice haunted the country.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Benzel, Kathryn N., and Ruth Hoberman. Trespassing Boundaries: Virginia Woolf’s Short Fiction. New York: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2004. Lee, Hermione. Virginia Woolf. London: Vintage, 1999. Woolf Virginia. “A Haunted House.” In Monday or Tuesday: Eight Stories. 1921. Reprint, New York: Dover, 1997. Jessica Allen

HAUNTED MAN AND THE GHOST’S BARGAIN, THE CHARLES DICKENS (1848) Originally slated to appear in 1847, “The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain,” the fifth and last installment of the Christmas book series was delayed because of


CHARLES DICKENS’s exhaustion at maintaining the serialization of Dombey and Son (1846–48). In the 1852 preface to his collected Christmas Books, Dickens wrote that his purpose for this series was “to awaken some loving and forbearing thoughts, never out of season in a Christian land.” By the last two stories in this series, however, critics were losing patience with the didacticism and sentimentality of the Christmas stories, though they sold relatively well. The Haunted Man sold about 18,000 copies between December 19 and Christmas, making a profit of almost £800. In comparison with his novels and with the first three Christmas books, The Haunted Man is sparsely furnished with the realistic details, the characters, the humor, and the incidents that otherwise fill Dickens’s fiction. According to Harry Stone, Dickens’s Christmas book method takes “a protagonist who displays false values” and makes him, “through a series of extraordinary events, see his error” (494). The Haunted Man opens with an esteemed professor of chemistry sitting alone indulging in an extended period of despair after the death of his sister and the loss of the woman he had wished to marry. Redlaw’s grief is deepened by the fact that his best friend seduced his sister and married his lover. Significantly, in the August before Dickens sat down in October to complete the story, Dickens’s own beloved sister, Fanny, had died of tuberculosis. In the tale, Redlaw is strangely unsurprised when an exact copy of himself appears in spirit form. This phantom doppelgänger haunting Redlaw is not possessed of goodwill toward his material other, like Marley or the three ghosts of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, but rather tempts Redlaw to extend his withdrawal from the rest of humanity. Redlaw expresses a desire to be relieved of his sorrow, and the spirit offers him a gift that, at first, very much appeals to Redlaw: the loss of any and all sorrowful memories. Redlaw accepts, and though his own painful memories ebb away, he also finds that he possesses a sort of Midas touch that removes the sorrowful memories from anyone he meets. Furthermore, he realizes that he has lost his ability to express or feel human compassion. In a November 1848 letter, Dickens wrote, “my point is that bad and good are inextricably linked in remembrance, and that you could not

choose the enjoyment of recollecting only the good” (Letters, 5:443). Only the wife of the custodian of the college, Milly, who has experienced the death of her child, and the young animalistic street urchin she has newly adopted are immune to his Midas touch: The child because he has no humanity to lose and Milly because she contains humanity to an extraordinary degree. Redlaw realizes the monster he has become, and Milly helps him and those whom his touch has crippled (including the son born of the marriage between his former love and his former best friend) restore their memories and their full humanity. Rather than social reform, The Haunted Man emphasizes “the reformation of the individual heart” (Kaplan, 180). Redlaw, as the great professor, contrasts the wisdom learned from books with the wisdom learned from the emotions. The story ends with a Christmas banquet underneath the prayerful inscription on a generations-old portrait in the Great Hall of the school: “Lord keep my Memory green.” Redlaw finally understands the ambiguity of the inscription and prays that his own recollections—of the good as well as of the painful—shall be kept alive.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dickens, Charles. The Letter of Charles Dickens: The Pilgrim Edition, vol. 5: 1847–1849. Edited by Graham Story and Kenneth Fielding. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988. Thomas, Deborah A. Dickens and the Short Story. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. Stone, Harry. “Dickens’ Artistry and The Haunted Man,” South Atlantic Quarterly 61, no. 4 (1962): 492–505. Chris Barnes

HEART OF DARKNESS JOSEPH CONRAD (1899) The essay “Geography and Some Explorers” (1924) describes JOSEPH CONRAD as a schoolboy amusing classmates by pointing to Africa on a map and declaring, “When I grow up I shall go there.” Eighteen years later, in 1890, Conrad obtained a post as steamboat captain with a trading company in the Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). He


undertook the 1,000-mile journey up the Congo River to Stanley Falls, where a great depression fell on him. His encounter with the grim reality of European exploitation undermined his faith in commerce with developing countries. He returned to England in 1891 and checked into a hospital for malaria and dysentery. Conrad went to sea just once more after returning from Africa, choosing to devote his time instead to writing literature. In 1897, he wrote about the disillusioning experience in Africa for Blackwood’s Magazine, which serialized Heart of Darkness in three parts (February, March, and April) and afterward published a revised version of the story in a separate volume, YOUTH: A NARRATIVE; and Two Other Stories (1902). Conrad’s most famous novella, Heart of Darkness (adapted into Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now in 1979) is a fictional treatment of his experiences in Africa. Charlie Marlow recounts the traumatic Congo expedition to four companions aboard the Nellie, a cruising yawl anchored in the Thames estuary. London has also been “one of the dark places of the earth,” Marlow begins, thus evoking European imperialistic history at the beginning of his tale about a journey through Africa in search of a white explorer, reminiscent of Henry Stanley’s famous discovery of Doctor David Livingstone. At the first company station along the Congo, Marlow finds malnourished native workers dying before the eyes of an immaculately dressed chief accountant. The company agents, ironically described as “pilgrims,” turn out to be little more than European colonists intent on exploiting the natives for profit. The corruption Marlow encounters at each stage of the journey—a French ship firing blindly into the continent, the rapacious Eldorado Exploring Expedition—starkly contrasts with the lofty rhetoric about bringing civilization to Africa. At each stop Marlow hears of a legendary ivory trader named Kurtz, whose “moral ideas” might redeem the colonial enterprise. After long delays at the Central Station, Marlow pilots the steamer upriver amid perilous snags, shallows, and fogs. Just a few miles from Kurtz’s outpost, natives attack the steamer with arrows and kill Marlow’s helmsman with a long spear before being frightened away by the steamboat whistle. A Russian traveler reveals that the ambush has been ordered by

Kurtz, who wishes to remain among the natives. Far from civilizing them, Kurtz has himself “gone native” by attending mysterious rituals, obtaining ivory through tribal warfare, involving himself with a native woman, and surrounding his hut with human heads. Kurtz’s eloquent report about educating the natives for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs ends with the contradictory postscript: “Exterminate all the brutes!” Marlow finds devoted native attendants carrying on a stretcher the dying, emaciated Kurtz, whose final words resonantly express a sense of horror. When Kurtz’s fiancée in Belgium asks about Kurtz’s last words, Marlow lies to protect her innocence and says that her name had been spoken last. The narrative ends with Marlow’s audience aboard the Nellie reflecting on what they have just heard. The frame narrative, or what is essentially a storywithin-a-story as an unnamed narrator listens to Marlow’s tale, distances the audience from the traumatic experience and enables Marlow to describe events only partially understood at the time. Marlow’s confusion is registered through a process Ian Watt calls “delayed decoding,” or the deferred explanation of sense impressions, as when “sticks” flying through the air turn out to be arrows. Like the figurative journeys in many of Conrad’s plots, Marlow’s journey is both a literal journey into Africa and a metaphorical journey into the depths of consciousness. Marlow faces a “choice of nightmares” between the inhumane commerce of the company manager and the tortured idealism of Kurtz, who at least struggles with moral convictions. Kurtz is the conflicted representative of European imperialism (“All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz”) in whom Marlow finds a double or alter ego with whose moral struggle he can identify. According to Marlow, Kurtz at least judges himself in the end with the famously ambiguous last words “The horror! The horror!” Conrad’s ambivalent attitude toward colonialism—the African novelist Chinua Achebe called Conrad “a thoroughgoing racist” while other critics have considered the novella progressive in its critique of imperialism—has been a major reason for enduring interest in the story.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Achebe, Chinua. Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays 1965–1987. London: Heinemann, 1988.


Apocalypse Now (1979). Directed by Francis Coppola. Written by John Milius and Francis Coppola. Paramount Pictures, 1992. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. ———. Last Essays. New York: Doubleday & Page, 1926. Kimbrough, Robert, ed. Heart of Darkness: Norton Critical Edition. 3rd ed. New York and London: Norton, 1988. Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. London: Chatto and Windus, 1993. Watt, Ian. Conrad in the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979. Matt Rubery

“HIGHLAND WIDOW, THE” WALTER SCOTT (1827) This story by the celebrated Scottish novelist Sir WALTER SCOTT (1771–1832) first appeared as part of the collection Chronicles of the Canongate. Here, Chrystal Croftangry, the narrator of the collection, retells the widow’s story from the memorandum of a late friend, Martha Bethune Baliol. She herself hears the story from her Highland tour guide, Donald MacLeish. The narrative begins with Mrs. Bethune Baliol’s Highland tour, which climaxes with her encounter with the mysterious “Woman of the Tree,” Elspat MacTavish. Elspat’s husband, the cateran (warrior) Hamish MacTavish, known as MacTavish Mhor, is feared throughout the Highlands and the Lowlands until the failure of the Jacobite rebellion against King George II in 1745; some time thereafter, he is killed. Elspat escapes and raises their son, Hamish Bean, to emulate his father’s life as a cateran. But while she refuses to acknowledge that Scottish ways have forever altered, Hamish realizes that there is no place for a cateran in modern Scottish culture; finally, after much harrying by his mother, he disappears, only to reappear as an enlisted soldier en route to America. For Elspat, this is an unthinkable betrayal: By joining the Black Watch, Hamish has simultaneously accepted the power of the Hanovers and abandoned the old feuds between the MacTavishes and the other Highland clans. But knowing that Hamish fears the scourging that awaits any soldier who deserts, Elspat persuades him to stay with her until his leave is nearly up—then drugs his drink. Too late, Hamish awakens to find that he has, for all intents and purposes, become a deserter;

even so, he vows to return and receive his punishment. Once again, Elspat foils him. When Hamish’s sergeant, Allen Breack Cameron, comes to arrest him, Elspat successfully encourages Hamish to shoot him—thereby ensuring his own execution. She desperately seeks to save him from his fate, but all for naught. After hearing of his death, Elspat isolates herself in her grief, refusing to have anything further to do with human society. As her own end approaches, she sneaks past the women asked to watch her and disappears. Scott first heard this tale from Mrs. Anne Murray Keith and started working on his own version in late May 1826. (He was beginning his desperate attempt to write himself out of £121,000 worth of debt, incurred when the Ballantyne Press collapsed in January of that year.) The first of three stories in The Chronicles of the Canongate: First Series, “The Highland Widow” addresses many themes familiar from Scott’s novels: the intricate cultural clashes of Highland and Lowland Scots, as well as Scots and English; the role of women in creating and maintaining folk traditions; the power of landscape; the psychology of superstition; and, above all, the sad but inevitable collapse of the old ways in the face of modernization. In some ways, the story functions as a sequel to Scott’s Waverley (1814), insofar as it traces the collapse of Highland culture in the wake of the Jacobite rebellion. Bethune Baliol’s Highland tour also partly echoes Waverley’s own educational wanderings across the Scottish landscape. Elspat herself is an especially gloomy version of one of Scott’s female types, ominous, more or less prophetic, and occasionally insane: Other variations on this theme include Meg Merrilies of Guy Mannering (1815), the madwoman Madge Wildfire of The Heart of Midlothian (1818), and Alice Grant of The Bride of Lammermoor (1819). Elspat’s unwillingness or inability to recognize historical change, with tragic results, is yet another of Scott’s frequent preoccupations. As is so often the case, Scott represents historical change as simultaneously inevitable and painful; both Caroline McCrackenFlesher and Graham Tulloch have noted Scott’s ambivalence about English attitudes to Highlanders, which partly precipitate Hamish’s death. If Elspat’s wild yearning for the vanished past comes across as an entirely unviable option, it is not clear that Scotland’s


embrace of English ways—as symbolized by the Black Watch—represents something altogether desirable.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Cooney, Seamus. “Scott and Progress: The Tragedy of the ‘Highland Widow,’ ” Studies in Short Fiction 11 (1974): 11–16. McCracken-Flesher, Caroline. “Pro Matria Mori: Gendered Nationalism and Cultural Death in Scott’s ‘The Highland Widow,’ ” Scottish Literary Journal 21 (1994): 69–78. Scott, Walter. Chronicles of the Canongate: First Series. Edinburgh: Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, 1827. Tulloch, Graham. “Imagery in ‘The Highland Widow,’ ” Studies in Scottish Literature 21 (1986): 147–157. Miriam Elizabeth Burstein

HILL, SUSAN (1942– )

Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in 1942. She is married to a Shakespeare scholar, Stanley Wells. Hill’s semiautobiographical writings include The Magic Apple Tree (1982) and Family (1989), the latter relating the death of her premature child, Imogen. Hill’s novels include Strange Meeting (1971), I’m the King of the Castle (1970), and a series of crime novels. The recent The Pure in Heart (2005) continues Hill’s exploration of the crime genre. Hill is best known for her ghost story The Woman in Black (1983), the dramatization of which has had a long and successful run in London’s West End. The Woman in Black’s supernatural narrative, gothic characterization, and claustrophobic sense of isolation locate it firmly within the realm of the modern gothic. Hill’s interest in supernatural fiction and her interest in the short story form itself, is demonstrated by her editorship of numerous collections including The Walker Book of Ghost Stories (1990). While the supernatural dominates deathly experience in The Woman in Black, Hill’s short stories are more frequently dominated by emotionally gritty realism in their representations of death and an internalized sense of isolation and alienation. Death is the main stimulus for change in characters’ circumstances, and change itself represents a major source of anxiety for the majority of Hill’s protagonists, as in “HOW SOON CAN I LEAVE?” As such, Hill frequently explores the

changes faced by children approaching maturity and the elderly facing lonely death. Hill relies heavily on pathetic fallacy and seaside locations to layer the intensity of anxiety in her prose. In The Albatross and Other Stories (1971), which won the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize, Hill uses a seaside setting to shroud characters with an expectancy of death and to create a sense of claustrophobic entrapment. In her afterword, Hill identifies the inspiration for “The Albatross” as Benjamin Britten’s “Sea Interludes” from the opera Peter Grimes. As such, the bleak power of the sea dominates the story as the protagonist, Duncan, struggles to find his own identity independent of his mother, whose body is eventually enveloped by the brooding sea. A seaside setting offers more carnivalesque potential in the title story from A Bit of Singing and Dancing (1973), as Esme, a repressed middle-aged woman whose domineering mother has recently died, takes in a lodger—the singing and dancing seaside entertainer, Mr. Curry. Like many of Hill’s protagonists, Esme has yet to reach adult independence and emotional maturity despite being middle-aged, as the bonds between parent and child (of whatever age) predominantly constrict and suffocate in Hill’s stories. This comic use of the seaside location in “A Bit of Singing and Dancing” is rare in Hill’s work, however; “The Badness Within Him” in the same collection returns to the use of the sea as a deathly signifier. Here, the young boy, Col, struggles with an overpowering sense of change that foreshadows and, indeed, predicts the drowning of his father and his epiphanic understanding of his new position as dominant male in the family. In fact, the loss of parents or of sons and daughters is a key Hill theme. In “Elizabeth,” from Listening to the Orchestra (1996), the death of the young girl’s mother creates a vacancy of responsibility that the daughter is trapped into filling, thereby creating parallels with Col’s experiences. In “Father, Father,” from The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, the death of the mother and remarriage of the father leave two grown-up daughters distraught and unable to form new independent identities. Hill’s exploration of the entrapment caused by familial relationships runs parallel to a sense of individual isolation, which is frequently positioned paradoxically


both as the result of familial relationships and as the only alternative to such entrapment. Hill’s collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read (2003) returns in the title story to examining the relationship of need between the old and the young. As in “The Custodian” and “Halloran’s Child” in A Bit of Singing and Dancing, the isolated adult is revealed to be in far more emotional need than the child. Such dependency inevitably leads to an increased sense of isolation following the maturation and departure of the child. By returning to established themes, Susan Hill has honed her distinctive voice as a short story writer. Moreover, through her work as editor of a range of collections, including The Random House Book of Ghost Stories (1991) and The Penguin Book of Modern Women’s Short Stories (1991), Hill continues to promote and explore the short story form.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Hill, Susan. The Albatross and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1989. ———. A Bit of Singing and Dancing. London: Penguin, 1973. ———. The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read. London: Chatto & Windus, 2003. ———. Listening to the Orchestra. Ebrington: Long Barn Books, 1996. ———. The Magic Apple Tree, London: Penguin, 1982. ———, ed. The Penguin Book of Modern Women’s Short Stories. London: Penguin, 1991. Jo Trevenna

HILL BACHELORS, THE WILLIAM TREVOR (2000) Mary Fitzgerald-Holt has noted that The Hill Bachelors represents a marked change of style from WILTREVOR’s previous collections. “Gone are the dramatic moments of confrontation, the sometimes strident exposures of painful truths” (174), she writes. Indeed, this collection has a much quieter feel, this conveyed through an economic use of words and a consistent tone of gentle tolerance. Many of the characters are as seedy as those in previous Trevor collections: confidence tricksters, petty thieves, and mendacious hypocrites are as prevalent as before. The difference is that secrets are revealed slowly, without the dramatic sensa-


tionalism that characterizes, for example, the revelations made by the ranting Cynthia in 1981’s “Beyond the Pale.” In “Three People,” two seemingly innocuous persons have transgressed seriously: Vera has escaped punishment for murdering her dependent, handicapped sister, and Sidney has perverted the course of justice by providing a false alibi. These horrendous secrets are not revealed in a destructive flash but are discreetly and quietly presented to us—not to any other character in the text. Several stories are set in England, but the stories set in Ireland convey the most consistent and memorable theme: the decline of rural Irish customs. The sober pace and tone is appropriate to this theme: Rural Irish families, routines, and traditions are dying not with cataclysmic flashes but with anticlimactic whimpers. “Of the Cloth” focuses on the quiet life of a Church of Ireland clergyman in remote Ennismolach. Underlining the steadfast dignity of the clergyman, Trevor insists that Reverend Grattan Fitzmaurice is as Irish as any Catholic: “[H]e belonged to this landscape.” A contrast is made between the sparseness of Fitzmaurice’s existence (the rectory has a negligible staff and a minute congregation) with the apparent wealth of a nearby, fresh flower–decorated Catholic church. But we gradually realize that Trevor is not mourning the decline of Irish Protestantism. Instead, the insistence is that the Roman Church is in decline—falling attendances underline the Catholic Church’s lessening influence. The confidence of the Catholic priests is a front: Their status will soon be as sorry as that of the already marginalized Fitzmaurice. The Protestant tradition has declined already; the Catholic tradition is undergoing a similar decline. In “The Virgin’s Gift,” another sort of rural decline is subtly accounted for: the passing of family-scale agriculture. Michael has willingly undergone many years of hermitage, inspired by instructions apparently sent by the Virgin Mary in his sleep. Called upon again, this time to return to his country-dwelling family, he goes home. His aged parents appreciate this change, but there will not be a perpetuation of their livestock-rearing and crop-sowing subsistence. Michael still seeks only peace. Significantly, he is an only child; he chose a religious life instead of a married life with a young


woman, Fódla. Trevor does not tell us whether Michael’s following of the Virgin’s callings is delusional—Trevor never judges his characters in such a manner—but it is clear that Michael’s religious devotion causes the ending of one family’s local-scale farming. In the title story, 29-year-old Paul does continue rural traditions: He takes over the family’s farm after his father’s death. His older brothers have all progressed to married lifestyles in commercial environments distanced from the farm’s remoteness. The problem is that Paul cannot find a marriage partner. Women invariably reject Paul—transparently, he seeks a wife only to share farm chores. Trevor articulates the tragedy of this enforced solitariness through an elegiac narrative. Paul accepts that he is destined to be a “hill bachelor,” a loner who will never pass the farm down to an heir. He is resigned to the inevitable decline of rural traditions in his area, just as Trevor accepts with melancholy that traditional rural sensibilities in Ireland have generally given way to industrial-scale agriculture and urban-influenced attitudes and mores.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Fitzgerald-Holt, Mary. William Trevor: Re-imagining Ireland. Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2003. Kiberd, Declan. “Demented Bachelors,” review of The Hill Bachelors. London Review of Books, 8 March 2001, pp. 30–31. MacKenna, Dolores. William Trevor: The Writer and His Work. Dublin: New Island Books, 1999. Ormsby-Lennon, Hugh. Fools of Fiction: Reading the Fiction of William Trevor. Dublin: Maunsel and Co., 2004. Trevor, William. The Hill Bachelors. London: Viking, 2000. Kevin De Ornellas


Same-sex desire has been represented in literature as far back as Plato’s Symposium in Ancient Greece. However, the terms homosexuality and, slightly later, heterosexuality, were not coined until late 19th-century sexologists such as Havelock Ellis and Richard Krafft-Ebing sought to categorize variations in human sexual behavior. Indeed, many literary historians and queer theorists today agree with Michel Foucault’s assertion that although same-sex erotic and sexual behavior has always existed, “the homosexual” did not emerge as an identity category

until late-Victorian times. Others, however, citing 18th-century mollyhouses, or gathering places for homoerotically inclined men, argue that identity was in place much earlier. Initially, the term homosexuality was intended to garner compassion for those whose emotional and sexual attraction and behavior was oriented toward their own sex, thus shifting homosexuality (then also called sexual inversion) from a crime to a disorder. However, attitudes toward homosexuality as sin, disease, or crime continue to persist alongside beliefs that it is a normal sexual orientation or choice. Literary references to homosexuality often cite historical trends and events including the following: 18th and 19th-century romantic female friendship, or “Boston marriage”; OSCAR WILDE’s 1895 trial for “gross indecency”; the 1928 obscenity trial over Radclyffe Hall’s novel The Well of Loneliness; Paris lesbian salons and the Berlin queer milieu of the 1930s (see Christopher Isherwood’s “SALLY BOWLES”); Nazi persecution of homosexuals; mid-20th-century styles of butch and femme; the 1969 Greenwich Village Stonewall rebellion; the emergence of gay liberation and activism inspired by feminist and racial justice civil rights movements; the American Psychological Association’s deletion of homosexuality as a disorder in 1973; and the emergence of HIV/AIDS and Thatcher/Reagan antigay policies in the 1980s. More recent events include the development of sex-change techniques; increasing reference to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) persons in movies and television; current debates over “gay genes,” gay marriage, gay adoptions and gays in the military; and the emergence of LGBT studies and queer theory as academic disciplines. Representations of homosexuality may reflect the autobiographical impulses of gay authors: Examples include E. M. FORSTER, SOMERSET MAUGHAM, and SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER and many writers associated with AESTHETICISM and DECADENCE. Alternatively, homosexuality might mark characters as evil, especially in the evocation of lesbianism to pathologize female power and/or sexuality, as in SHERIDAN LE FANU’s Carmilla. Contemporary authors such as A. S. BYATT, WILL SELF, and JEANETTE WINTERSON frequently refer to queerness directly. However, earlier writers are often more oblique, signaling homoeroticism or homosexual


acts through metaphor or allusion to figures like Sappho, St. Sebastian, or the Bible’s David and Jonathan or Naomi and Ruth. Or they may encode same-sex desire through sensual language, phallic images, or labial and clitoral references to flowers, pearls, seeds, and so forth. Since the sex-gender system of Western society dictates both gendered behavior and sexual object choice according to one’s biological sex, gender-bending and cross-dressing characters may be read as a feminist critique of rigid gender roles but may also provide a queer critique of compulsory heterosexuality. The same is true for characters who resist heterosexual relationships or suffer unhappy marriages while enjoying positive same-sex friendships (as in HENRY JAMES, VERNON LEE, and VIRGINIA WOOLF). Additionally, homoerotically inclined authors of either sex sometimes identify with the figure of the adolescent boy, both for his youthful beauty and for his relative freedom from the expectations of heterosexual adulthood (e.g., J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan). To avoid anachronism, critics discussing authors and texts prior to the 20th century often use alternate terms in lieu of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or homosexual, such as homoerotically inclined, lesbian-like, antiheteronormative, or queer. The latter two terms may also be applied to transgendered and intersexed subject positions. Readers should be aware that native and non-Western perceptions of same-sex desire, behavior, and identity may vary greatly from Western models of homosexuality.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Abelove, Henry, et al., eds. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 1993. Duberman, Martin, ed. A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. New York: New York University Press, 1997. Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Vol. 1, 1978. New York: Vintage, 1990. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. Jill R. Ehnenn


unsuccessfully to get the English Review to publish “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,” written in 1917 and originally titled “The Miracle.” However, in 1921 he revised the story, retitled it “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter,” and included it in his second volume of short stories, England, My England (1922). The story was an immediate success and to this day remains one of Lawrence’s most anthologized pieces of writing, second only to “The ROCKING-HORSE WINNER” (1926). “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” begins with the disbanding of the Pervin family: Mabel Pervin and her three brothers, Malcolm, Fred Henry, and Joe, all must leave their home after their father has died and left them in debt. The Pervin brothers state openly what they intend to do with their futures; Mabel, however, is strangely silent about her intentions. Mabel’s sole connection to a family member is with her mother, who died when Mabel was just 14. Now, as a 27-year-old woman, Mabel still feels deep and worshiping love for her mother. Lawrence states simply that this intense love for her dead mother makes Mabel feel “her own glorification, approaching her dead mother, who was glorified” (143). Mabel’s intent is to follow her mother to the grave. Little physical notice is taken of Mabel except by Dr. Jack Ferguson, a Pervin family friend, who finds Mabel’s “steady, dangerous eyes” emotionally unsettling (141). Present in this story is Lawrence’s interest in the development of the individual identity as it pertains to larger questions of community. Both Mabel and Jack Ferguson find themselves alienated in their respective communities; Mabel does not fit into her family, and Jack Ferguson does not feel comfortable in the “alien, ugly little town” of people for whom he cares (144). Mabel’s attempted suicide, by drowning, propels these two alienated people together. Dr. Ferguson rescues Mabel from the pond into which she has walked, although he cannot swim, out of duty as a medical man. After dragging her from the cold and murky waters, he resuscitates her, takes her back to her own house, undresses her in the kitchen, and wraps her naked body in warm blankets. When he gives her some brandy she comes into full physical consciousness and asks him the question that will change their lives forever: “Do you


love me, then?” (148). The conversation between Mabel and Jack Ferguson, following this question, illustrates one of the recurrent themes in Lawrence’s stories, the complicated problem of defining the exact nature of love between men and women. Lawrence shows that love is what draws these two people together. However, in this story love has many meanings. Love is emotional desire, sexual passion, and possession of another person. Mabel’s prolonged nakedness forces Jack to address his burgeoning desire for her. Finally, Mabel’s intense need for Jack’s love compels him to abandon the pretense of helpful doctor, to embrace his newfound love for her. Although there is final recognition between Mabel and Jack for their love of each other, this is a love story without a happy ending. At the moment that Jack declares definitively that he wants her, that he is even willing to marry her immediately, Mabel is “frightened . . . almost more than her horror lest he should not want her” (152). Lawrence was a writer who sought to represent human nature in all its complexities. Thus, in this story, love is imperfectly felt and experienced.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Delany, Paul. D. H. Lawrence’s Nightmare: The Writer and His Circle in the Years of the Great War. New York: Basic Books, 1978. Harris, Janice Hubbard. The Short Fiction of D. H. Lawrence. New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1984. Lawrence, D. H. England, My England and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 1995. Worthen, John. D. H. Lawrence: A Literary Life. New York: St. Martin’s, 1993. Barbara Tilley

“HOUSE OF THE FAMOUS POET, THE” MURIEL SPARK (1959) Originally published in the New Yorker, “The House of the Famous Poet” is set in 1944 during the shelling of London and follows the narrator as she travels on the night train from Edinburgh to London to resume work at her civil service position. Aboard the train, she meets two other passengers: a soldier returning to his post and a domestic worker named Elise. The soldier’s generosity with his cigarettes forms a bond between the two women, and Elise ultimately invites the narrator to stay at the home

where she is employed. Enchanted by the conversation, the desire to stay in London, and Elise’s aristocratic accent, the narrator accepts the invitation. However, almost immediately she regrets it. Viewed standing and in the light of day, Elise has a bearing of almost oppressive exhaustion, a quality that then permeates everything with which she is associated, including the home in which she works. As a result the narrator becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her promise to spend the night with Elise. This discomfort is heightened when the speaker discovers that the home in which she is to spend the night is, as the title tells us, the house of the famous poet. With new eyes, the narrator examines her surroundings. They no longer speak of Elise’s exhaustion but of the mind of the poet. The narrator’s discomfort now stems from the feelings of intrusion into the private world of this poet who is both known and unknown to her. As she prepares to leave the home the next day, she again meets the soldier from the train. The story then enters the world of magical realism. Short on funds, he sells her an abstract funeral in return for train fare. While she ponders the funeral and what it must look like, the soldier gets off the train only to reappear moments later as a notion of himself. Though intrigued by the concept of the abstract funeral, the narrator ultimately discards it, finding that it fails to meet her expectations; she desires a real funeral. At the close of the story, the narrator relates that not long after her stay in the house of the famous poet, it was bombed, killing Elise and the famous poet and destroying his house. As many of her works are, “The House of the Famous Poet” is based on events from MURIEL SPARK’s own life. A civil servant during World War II, Spark had stayed with a woman working in the house of Louis MacNeice on her way back to work after a trip to Edinburgh. Though none of the events mentioned in the latter part of the story occurred, Spark points to this experience as the catalyst that inspired her to write. In fact, throughout the story, the narrator discusses her need to record these and other events. Not surprisingly, these particular events are also recounted in other Spark works, including her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, and an essay titled “The Poet’s House.”


To a large extent, the primary theme of the short story is how perception mediates reality. As a result, reality is flexible and revisable. The overrun nature of the house changes from being indicative of Elise’s exhaustion to hinting at the mind of the famous poet. Moreover, this plastic reality allows for some of the postmodern play. The story shows a clear self-consciousness in the construction of the narrative and in the choice of detail. The latter parts of the story, most specifically the description of the house, the recurrence of the notion of the solider, and the poet’s death, evoke the gothic and magical realism in their associations with death and the supernatural. Furthermore, although “The House of the Famous Poet” lacks some of the characteristics of Spark’s larger oeuvre, especially the prolepsis found in works such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Driver’s Seat, the narrator’s tone and the focus on descriptive detail hint at Spark’s experimentation with the nouveau roman found in her longer works.

BIBLIOGRAPHY MacLachlan, Christopher. “Muriel Spark and the Gothic.” In Studies in Scottish Fiction: 1945 to the Present, 125–145. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996. McQuillan, Martin, ed. Theorizing Muriel Spark: Gender, Race, and Deconstruction. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Rankin, Ian. “The Deliberate Cunning of Muriel Spark.” In The Scottish Novel since the Seventies: New Visions, Old Dreams, 41–53. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1993. Spark, Muriel. Complete Short Stories. London: Penguin, 2001. Mary M. Husemann

“HOW SOON CAN I LEAVE?” SUSAN HILL (1973) SUSAN HILL’s 1973 widely anthologized short story “How Soon Can I Leave?” relates the relationship of Miss Roscommon and Miss Bartlett, two unmarried women living in the coastal town of Mountsea. Hill’s simple, straightforward style of writing is evident in this story. Sparse yet realistic details provide the reader with a complete picture of the characters and situations, making the story interesting and absorbing. Miss Bartlett, a woman in her 40s, comes to Mountsea, though the reader does not learn how or why. After winter storms flood her waterside cottage—per-

haps symbolic of life itself—she moves in with Miss Roscommon, an older woman who enjoys domestic pursuits and having someone to benefit from them. Their relationship appears to be mutually beneficial: Miss Roscommon has someone to watch over, and Miss Bartlett has a safe place to pass the winter. One winter turns into seven years, all following a similar pattern, with Miss Bartlett making crafts for sale and Miss Roscommon running the business and domestic sides of their lives. Then, Miss Bartlett’s 47th birthday, along with a visit to Miss Roscommon by her young niece and her new husband, bring Miss Bartlett to an emotional crisis of sorts. She decides to move out of Tuscany, Miss Roscommon’s house, and settle into her little cottage again. Once there, she will make new plans for her future. She postpones this decision-making again and again, however. The reader has already learned that this is typical of Miss Bartlett—she makes very few intentional commitments because she believes that committing to one plan or place means permanently ruling out any other path. Hill describes Miss Bartlett’s life as drifting, similar to the sections of the pier that break off into the sea during the fierce winter storms that were the initial cause of her living arrangement with Miss Roscommon. These same winter storms slowly wear at Miss Bartlett’s determination to be independent from her former housemate. She wishes there were someone to comfort her during the storms that frighten her. Though she has rebuffed Miss Roscommon’s recent efforts to take care of her, one particularly harsh storm changes Miss Bartlett’s resolution to live on her own. She returns to Tuscany in the morning to reestablish their friendship, though she envisions herself refusing Miss Roscommon’s tendencies to treat her as a child or pet. Yet instead of presenting the cheerful reunion the reader expects, Hill ends the story with a twist: Miss Roscommon has died in the night, during the storm, alone. A few themes and ideas are constant in the story. Hill makes frequent use of contrast, both obvious and subtle. Miss Roscommon and Miss Bartlett are the most noted example. Miss Roscommon is a no-nonsense sort of woman, while Miss Bartlett is perceived by oth-


ers as dreamy and artistic. Contrast is shown in other areas of the story as well, such as Miss Bartlett herself. She tells herself that she is an independent adult capable of any adventure or journey she can dream, yet her outward actions seem to demonstrate the exact opposite. Even the weather in the winter and in the summer are contrasted with each other. In addition, the story explores ideas of childhood and independence. Children who are different and misunderstood by adults are featured in other works by Hill, a subject that stems from her vivid memories of her own childhood. In this story, Miss Bartlett is the child. She recalls scenes from her girlhood that she has allowed to define her adulthood. Although Miss Bartlett’s mother is dead at the time of the story, she is in fact a character because her presence is so vivid in Miss Bartlett’s life. When her mother is not discussed, Miss Roscommon takes over the role of Miss Bartlett’s deceased mother.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Hill, Susan. “How Soon Can I Leave?” In Penguin Modern Stories. London: Penguin, 1971. Amber Cason Wingfield

HUGHES, TED (1930–1998)

Poet, children’s author, dramatist, critic, and essayist, Edward James Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. His father returned from the Dardanelles, the only survivor of his regiment. As a child, Hughes frequently accompanied his gamekeeper brother in retrieving the bodies of birds and small animals. These formative experiences of life’s frailty and the bleakness of the Yorkshire moors had a profound effect on Hughes’s writing. As a young man, Hughes won a scholarship to study English at Cambridge but became bored and transferred to archaeology and anthropology. It was at Cambridge that he met the American poet Sylvia Plath, whom he married in 1956. Hughes is best known as a poet, having published 14 anthologies of poetry that focuses on the frailty of life and the prevalence of violence in nature and the human psyche (e.g., “The RAIM HORSE”). However, he also published a well-known short story, “The Iron Man” (1968). This was originally a bedtime story

Hughes made up to tell his own children, and he said he had “just wrote it out” as he told it. In stark contrast to much of his poetry, Hughes suggests, through the retelling of the George and the Dragon myth, that friendship with the enemy is the key to suppressing terror. Its belated sequel, “The Iron Woman” (1993), has a myth about writing poetry as its central theme. Most of Hughes’s stories have been criticized for being of inferior quality to his poetry.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Feinstein, Elaine. Ted Hughes. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2001. Hughes, Ted. The Iron Man. London: Faber and Faber, 1968. ———. The Iron Woman. London: Faber and Faber, 1993. ———. Wodwo. London: Faber and Faber, 1967. Sagar, Keith. “Edward James (Ted) Hughes.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Available online. URL: Accused July 5, 2006. Radcliff Gregory


DOWN” CHARLES DICKENS (1859) First published in the New York Ledger in three parts in 1859, this story is one of the few by CHARLES DICKENS that is widely regarded as DETECTIVE FICTION. It is narrated by Mr. Sampson, the retired chief manager of an insurance office, who is a believer in physiognomy—reading faces—as a means of interpreting character. He recounts how at work he had a glass partition through which he could see but not hear visitors, and how one day he saw a gentleman for whom he conceived an immediate and intense dislike. The man is well dressed and about 40, and he wears his hair “elaborately brushed and oiled” and “parted straight up the middle.” The parting in his hair becomes the focus of Sampson’s dislike, for to him it seems to declare, “You must take me, if you please, my friend, just as I show myself. Come straight up here, follow the gravel path, keep off the grass, I allow no trespassing.” Over the course of several encounters, Sampson’s instinctive dislike is overcome by Slinkton’s apparent politeness and generosity. Sampson writes a life insurance policy for Slinkton’s friend, Beckwith, with Slinkton as character reference and beneficiary. But all is not


as it seems. Several months later Sampson meets Slinkton and his niece, Miss Niner, at the beach at Scarborough. Miss Niner confides that she is ill and will soon die, just as her sister did not long before, and praises her uncle for his devotion. She also points out an “invalid old gentleman” and his servant on the sands who have been shadowing her. When Slinkton leaves to go swimming, Sampson reveals that she is in danger—not from her “shadow” but from her uncle. The “invalid” and the servant have been waiting to spirit her away to safety. A couple of months later Sampson is called in to see Slinkton’s neighbor and friend, Beckwith. His rooms are dingy and he is apparently an inveterate drunkard whose drinking has been encouraged by Slinkton for the £2,000 in insurance money that his policy will pay. But Slinkton has been drawn into a trap. Beckwith is no drunk; he has been throwing away the brandy his “friend” has been plying him with. He reveals that he is Meltham, the insurance agent who made out the policy for Slinkton’s dead niece, and that he has thrown himself in Slinkton’s path to hunt him down by finding evidence of a worse crime: the murder of his niece and attempted murder of her sister. Finding Slinkton’s journal that recounts dates and doses of poison, he has the evidence he needs for Slinkton to be prosecuted. However, Slinkton poisons himself and dies before he can be turned over to the authorities. Meltham, torn with regret that he could only save the second sister— he was the mysterious “shadow” on the beach—dies a few months later, leaving all he has to Miss Niner. For a story that revolves around deception, this tale is interesting given the subterfuge of its narrator, the apparently forthright Mr. Sampson. Early in the story he mentions but fails to name a visitor to his home, who was undoubtedly Meltham. He obscures the reason for his trip to Scarborough as a need for “a breath of sea air”—in actuality, the invalid he meets on the beach is Meltham in disguise, at the ready to rescue Miss Niner. Similarly, he explains his appearance at Beckwith/Meltham’s rooms at the end of the story as an appointment in “some chambers in the Temple.” Of course, within the world of the story, Sampson must hide the truth to protect Miss Niner and to trap Slinkton. But his deceptions in relaying his story to

the reader are of a different order: Their function is to keep the reader in suspense. They enable him to give the impression that he is recounting the events of the story as he experienced them while withholding information crucial to understanding Slinkton and the trap laid for him. The necessity for a narrator-detective to share information with the reader was later enshrined as one of the “10 commandments” for how detective fiction should work by Ronald Knox, but Sampson is not the detective of the story. His astute perceptions about Slinkton’s real character merely ensure that he is more readily persuaded to rescue Miss Niner and aid in Slinkton’s exposure by the story’s detective: Meltham. Dickens had a strong interest in crime and police work. He wrote articles about his expeditions into London’s underworld with Inspector Field of Scotland Yard (the model, it is widely believed, for Inspector Bucket in his novel Bleak House), as well as about infamous criminals of the day, including the “gentleman” poisoners, Thomas Griffiths Wainewright and Dr. William Palmer. These two murderers have been suggested as inspirational in Dickens’s portrayal of Slinkton. Palmer’s 1856 trial caused a national sensation, for the doctor had poisoned at least 16 people, including his own children, his mother-in-law, and his wife (on whom he had taken out a large insurance policy). In his article “The Demeanour of Murderers” (published in Household Words in June 1856), Dickens suggests that such apparent “complete self-possession” as Palmer’s during the trial is in fact “always to be looked for and counted on, in the case of a very wicked murderer.” Further, he declares, “Nature never writes a bad hand. Her writing, as it may be read in the human countenance, is invariably legible, if we come at all trained to the reading of it.” Like Palmer, Slinkton is a contradiction: He can pass as respectable and so carry out his terrible crimes, yet apparently the physical signs of guilt that indicate his criminality are “written” on his face. This premise was comforting: Through research and education the world could be made predictable. Criminals could be detected and caught, and the world made safe from their predations. Such a perception was crucial to the subsequent rise of criminal anthropology that sought to tie physi-


cal characteristics (e.g., a sloping forehead) to criminal behavior. But it was also crucial to the emergence of the classic detective genre that became popular in the final decade of the century and beyond, with its detectives such as ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE’s Sherlock Holmes, who could use the science of deduction to unravel even the most complex mysteries.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Allingham, Philip V. “Dickens’s ‘Hunted Down’ (1859): A First-Person Narrative of Poisoning and Life-Insurance Fraud Influenced by Wilkie Collins.” The Victorian Web: Literature, History, and Culture in the Age of Victoria. Available online. URL: authors/dickens/pva/pva19.html. Accessed on Feb 10, 2005. Dickens, Charles. Hunted Down. London: Peter Owen, 1996. Gerri Brightwell

HUXLEY, ALDOUS (1894–1963)

Most often associated with Brave New World, his 1932 dystopian novel, the poet, playwright, essayist, novelist, and short story writer Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, in Surrey, England. As one of the youngest members of an accomplished literary and scientific family, the precocious Aldous benefited tremendously from the intellectual atmosphere surrounding him. Initially intending to pursue a career in medicine, Huxley entered Eton College in 1908, where he remained until 1911, when an eye infection nearly blinded the boy. With the help of braille, Huxley managed to continue his education at home in preparation for the university studies he hoped to undertake upon regaining his vision. In 1916, Huxley earned his bachelor’s degree from Balliol College, Oxford. After resigning from a post at Eton in 1919, Huxley married Maria Nys and began working as a journalist. Although much of his time was spent in writing for the Athenaeum, House and Garden, and the Westminster Gazette, the young writer managed to publish a third volume of verse and began work on his first novel, Crome Yellow. By 1923, Huxley’s success as a writer enabled him to work on his craft full time; he produced five short story collections, which helped establish him as one of the dominant literary voices of the interwar generation. For example, the stories in Mortal Coils

(1922) attempt to capture something of the post– World War I sense of cynicism, selfishness, and lack of humanity, which seemed to have replaced older values of loyalty, family, and religion. This collection contains Huxley’s most frequently anthologized story, “The GIOCONDA SMILE,” which was later filmed. Several of the stories in Little Mexican, and Other Stories (1924), including the title story, paint a similarly bleak view of human relations in which exploitation of children by parents and of servants by employers is rife. A recurrent theme in Huxley’s stories is the discrepancy between how things should be—or how characters dream they will be—and the grim reality. He is also interested in people who are emotionally stunted in some way. These are ideas taken up in Huxley’s fourth and fifth collections, Two or Three Graces and other Stories (1926) and Brief Candles (1930). With the publication of his 12th book, Point Counter Point, in 1928 and Brave New World (1932), Huxley established himself as one of the foremost writers of his generation. By this time, he had given up writing short stories, claiming to have lost interest in the act of storytelling. In 1937, hoping that the Californian climate would prove better for his failing eyesight (short-sightedness, or a failure to “see,” is a recurring theme in his stories) than the harsher climes of Europe, Aldous Huxley moved to the United States. Huxley’s relocation also marked a drastic change in the writer’s craft. Though he continued writing fiction throughout his life, Huxley moved away from creative writing to focus on philosophical and moral treatises, believing that the latter forms would better convey his philosophical concerns. In addition to the many essays he produced during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Huxley also wrote a number of Hollywood screenplays, most notably the adaptations of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In California, Huxley developed an interest in Hindu philosophy and alternative religions that would continue throughout the remainder of his life. Seeking to expand his consciousness, Huxley studied meditation, hypnosis, and mind-control techniques under the tutelage of several religious figures, including the Swami Prabhavananda and L. Ron Hubbard. Huxley’s growing interest in consciousness expansion also led him to


experiment with mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. Meeting with such drug culture icons as Timothy Leary and Dr. Humphrey Osmond, Huxley developed a favorable impression of these emerging psychedelic substances and agreed to participate in a study of mescaline use with Osmond in 1953. In 1954, after taking the drug on two occasions, Huxley wrote The Doors of Perception, an influential study of the drug’s mind-expansion capabilities. Although Huxley never became a heavy drug user, his lectures on the “visionary experience” one goes through while under the influence of substances such as mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD contributed largely to the writer’s popularity among the 1960s Californian hippie culture. Huxley spent his final years as a visiting professor at institutions such as the University of California at Berkeley, the Menninger Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In May 1961, a fire destroyed the Huxley home, obliterating the writer’s manuscripts, letters, and journals. Diagnosed with cancer of the tongue in 1960, and despite its spreading to glands in his throat by 1962, Huxley continued writing and lecturing until his death on November 22,

1963, in Los Angeles. Although his doctor initially protested, Huxley was given LSD on his deathbed and passed away under the influence of the drug. Aldous Huxley was 59.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bedford, Sybille. Aldous Huxley. New York: Knopf, 1974. Dunaway, David King. Huxley in Hollywood. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. London: Chatto and Windus, 1932. ———. Brief Candles: Stories. London: Chatto and Windus, 1930. ———. Collected Short Stories. London: Chatto & Windus, 1957. ———. Letters of Aldous Huxley. Edited by Grover Smith. London: Chatto & Windus, 1969. ———. Little Mexican and Other Stories. London: Chatto and Windus, 1924. ———. Two or Three Graces and Other Stories. London: Chatto and Windus, 1926. Murray, Nicholas. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. London: Little, Brown, 2002. Erik Grayson



“IMMORTALS, THE” MARTIN AMIS (1987) This story by MARTIN AMIS appeared in the 1987 collection Einstein’s Monsters, comprising five short stories and an introductory essay, “Thinkability,” relating the author’s observations about the nuclear threat’s chilling effects on intellectual and spiritual life. Amis later referred to the anthology as the first of a trilogy of major works dealing with the three major problematic events of the 20th century; the other books were the Holocaust novel Time’s Arrow (1991) and Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million (2002), about the Russian dictator Josef Stalin’s genocidal acts in the 1930s and 1940s. “The Immortals” and the other pieces in Einstein’s Monsters reflected Amis’s increasing concern, bordering on obsession, with the nuclear bomb during the 1980s, and the collection signaled the growing importance of the themes of worldwide crisis and environmental awareness in his work. “The Immortals,” the final and shortest story in Einstein’s Monsters, was generally considered inferior to the other stories in the collection, particularly the first two, “Bujak and the Strong Force” and “Insight at Flame Lake,” both of which focused on the psychological damage, the anxiety and dread, wrought by the theory of nuclear deterrence. “The Immortals” and its predecessor in the collection, “The Little Puppy That Could,” were negatively criticized for their showiness, jokiness, and sentimentality. Reviewer Jack Miles, for example, referred to the former as a glorified “comic routine” reminiscent of Mel Brooks’s “The Two-Thou-

sand-Year-Old Man.” Others, including reviewer Carolyn See, viewed “The Immortals” as integral to a collection that produced a particular response in readers—equal measures of pleasure and horror. According to James Diedrick, the stories failed to fulfill the rhetorical purpose apparently intended by the author, but they succeeded as examples of unconventional writing: “Ultimately, Einstein’s Monsters is more successful as a set of experiments in fictional technique and tone than as an attempt to locate postmodern malaise exclusively in the nuclear fire zone” (118). “The Immortals,” set some time after the nuclear “apocalypse” (139) and “death typhoon” (141) of 2045—Tokyo was ground zero—is told from the point of view of a character who claims to have roamed the earth since the beginning of time, before the arrival of the “space-seeded life” (137) of plants, dinosaurs, and humans. The narrator, living among the dying, in the first paragraph refers to the “diseases and delusions” (135) of those surrounding him. As mentioned above, the narrator delivers his monologue like a stand-up comedian, punctuating his fanciful tale about the march of global history with one-liners straight out of Borscht Belt traditions: “I once stayed awake for seven years on end. Not even a nap. Boy, was I bushed” (136). He offers quirky observations on the dinosaurs, the Ice Age, classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, ancient China, and the London of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. In a poignant ironic twist, near the end of the story, the narrator reveals that he is occasionally troubled by



a particularly disturbing delusion, one that speaks to the true identity of the narrator, whose own mind is diseased: “Sometimes I have this weird idea that I am just a second-rate New Zealand schoolmaster who never did anything or went anywhere and is now painfully and noisily dying of solar radiation along with everybody else.” The narrator’s grand delusion functions in part as Amis’s commentary on the delusions inherent in the nuclear age, particularly the concepts of deterrence and nuclear survivability, as addressed in “Thinkability”: “Nuclear weapons deter a nuclear holocaust by threatening a nuclear holocaust, and if things go wrong then that is what you get: a nuclear holocaust.” By the conclusion of “The Immortals,” the bad jokes and other defense mechanisms have vanished, and the reader is left with a pitiful character, one facing certain destruction with all of his delusions intact.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Amis, Martin. Einstein’s Monsters. New York: Harmony, 1987. Diedrick, James. Understanding Martin Amis. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995. Miles, Jack. “The Immortals,” Los Angeles Times, 28 June 1987, p. 13. See, Carolyn. “Humanity Is Washed Up—True or False?” New York Times, 17 May 1987, p. 501. Philip Booth

“IMPRESSIONS: THE WRIGHTSMAN MAGDALENE” ANGELA CARTER (1992) “Impressions: The Wrightsman Magdalene” first appeared in FMR Magazine in February 1992. It was subsequently published in American Ghosts and Old World Wonders, the short story collection that appeared the year after ANGELA CARTER’s death in 1992, and again in 1995’s Burning Your Boats: The Complete Short Stories. It is the tale of St. Mary Magdalene’s penitence in a cave in the forest of Sainte-Baume where, it is recounted, she arrived alone after having sailed with Mary, mother of Jesus, and others to the coast near Marseille. In this tale Carter’s characteristic magic realist approach is discernible only in her representation of saints and miracles, and Mary Magdalene is depicted in her popular role of repentant harlot.

Carter problematizes any simple opposition between vice and virtue suggested by the juxtaposition of a former prostitute and a virgin mother. Carter’s narrator describes Georges de la Tour’s painting “The Magdalene with Two Flames” (“The Wrightsman Magdalene” of the title): This picture shows a sensual Magdalene meditating upon a burning candle, the flame of which is also reflected in a mirror. The candle flame is the story’s central motif. Its contemplation enables the Magdalene’s repentance: “The new person, the saint, is being born out of this intercourse with the candle flame” (146). The story’s mysterious, first-person narrator (Carter herself?) has been similarly entranced by a flame. She describes how she imagined a candle during the birth of her son: “When the pains came thick and fast, I fixed all my attention on the blue absence at the heart of the flame, as though it were the secret of the flame and, if I concentrated enough upon it, it would become my secret, too” (145). These two women, shadowed by the presence of the impressive, impervious virgin, are united by their separate transformations. Justyna Sempruch reads Carter’s “blackbrowed Palestinian” Magdalene (141) as a “paradoxical creature” who escapes from “the limits of cultural boundaries, from the bonds/bounds maintained by traditional structures, religious as well as racial or national” (74). All cultural stigmas and stereotypes are challenged as the experience of the former prostitute in the cave at Sainte-Baume is portrayed equally alongside that of the narrator’s labor. True to its name, “Impressions” is not so much a narrative as a series of observations, centred around the narrator’s reflections on two representations of the Magdalene: the Georges de la Tour painting and Donatello’s sculpture kept at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, which depicts a Magdalene “dried up by the suns of the wilderness, battered by wind and rain, anorexic, toothless, a body entirely annihilated by the soul” (143). The poetic or literary description of artistic objects is known as ekphrasis, and in “Impressions” it is used to conjure the disparity between these different portrayals. The conflict that results implies Mary Magdalene’s mystery, her unknowability. While Carter’s narrator remains at all times entranced by the penitent, the variances between the two artistic works


suggest that the society that may condemn the Magdalene is also the society that may not understand her. The story concludes by implying that a worldlier, earthier experience—like the Magdalene’s—may produce a different sort of birth. The figure in “The Magdalene with Two Flames” holds a skull in her lap, “where, if she were a Virgin mother and not a sacred whore, she would rest her baby” (146). The skull is memento mori, a reminder and augury of death. Mary Magdalene has labored to bring her own enlightenment into the world. She has arrived at a revelation of the human condition in its inevitable mortality. The possibility of transformation is thus denied to neither the mother nor the nonmother. Carter presents revelation in a story that, given the frailty of its plot, is almost a nonstory. Ideals about the exclusivity of traditional or romantic means for attaining enlightenment are thus unsettled and challenged by “Impressions: The Wrightsman Magdalene,” be these means childbirth or realist narrative itself.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Carter, Angela. American Ghosts and Old World Wonders. London: Chatto & Windus, 1992. Sempruch, Justyna. “The Sacred May Not Be the Same as the Religious: Angela Carter’s ‘Impressions: The Wrightsman Magdalene’ and ‘Black Venus.’ ” Women: A Cultural Review 16, no. 1 (2005): 73–92. Michelle Kelly

“INDISCRETION IN THE LIFE OF AN HEIRESS, AN” THOMAS HARDY (1878) First published in the New Quarterly Magazine in July 1878, “An Indiscretion” was never collected by THOMAS HARDY into any of the four volumes of short stories that he produced during his lifetime. Its eventual printing in 1934 caused a public dispute to erupt between Florence Hardy, his widow, and Sydney Cockerell, his literary executor. Much of the story’s essential plot was clearly drawn from The Poor Man and the Lady, Hardy’s first novel, which he wrote in 1867 and 1868 but never published. “An Indiscretion” details a forbidden relationship between Egbert Mayne, a poor schoolteacher in the town of Tollamore, and Geraldine Allenville, the privi-

leged daughter of a member of the local gentry. Egbert’s desire for Geraldine is kindled when he saves her from being killed by a mechanical threshing machine. After the incident, Geraldine visits Egbert at his school under the pretense of inspecting it on behalf of her father, Squire Allenville, and a tentative friendship between them begins to take shape. When Egbert’s grandfather is in danger of being turned out of his house by the squire, Egbert prevails on Geraldine to intercede, and she does. The two continue to meet clandestinely, and one night he kisses her in the schoolhouse. Despite a series of missteps, the relationship grows until Egbert, conscious of the dangerous social gap between them, determines to leave Tollamore for London, where he hopes to build his reputation and fortune to a level that will allow him to finally marry Geraldine. After five years of steady effort, he achieves a modest amount of social success as a writer and publishes two books. At first, he maintains a correspondence with Geraldine, but this soon dwindles when her father learns of their relationship. When he hears that her family is visiting London, he contrives to sit near her at the opera. Quietly sneaking behind her, Mayne grabs her hand, and she declares that she remains “Yours now as then” (87). His hopes are quickly dashed, however, when he soon learns that her father has arranged for her to marry Lord Bretton. Dejected, Egbert returns to Tollamore, where Geraldine’s wedding is to take place. There, he experiences more emotional upheaval when he hears Geraldine’s voice outside his window. Still in love with him and fearful of Bretton, she has run away from her father’s house. Determined to save his lover, Egbert arranges for them to be married secretly, and they elope to the seaside town of Melport. After the ensuing scandal, Geraldine returns to the squire’s house to attempt a reconciliation. The encounter with her father puts too much strain on her fragile state; she suffers a ruptured blood vessel and collapses. At Geraldine’s request, Egbert is eventually admitted to the home, but Mr. Allenville ignores him. Geraldine’s health declines and she dies. Egbert sits on the right side of the bed holding her hand “while her father and the rest remained on the left side, never raising their eyes to him and scarcely ever addressing him” (113).


Thematically, “An Indiscretion” establishes the author’s (very personal) preoccupation with questions of social standing. But, unlike such later novels as Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, in which Hardy rails against the Victorians’ fundamentally snobbish attitudes about class, here he seems much more muted. The difficulties experienced by Egbert and Geraldine in their relationship are not used as the vehicles for scathing social commentary. A useful point of comparison is the conclusion of Tess. Each text closes with its heroine dying as a result of circumstances that stem directly or indirectly from her desire to marry outside of her social station. But, whereas the narrator of Tess greets her death with the embittered, ironic proclamation that “ ‘Justice’ was done, and the President of the Immortals . . . had ended his sport with Tess” (314), the narrator of “An Indiscretion” displays an unmistakable relief that “this strange family alliance was at end for ever” (113). Though a sense of sadness pervades the scene, the indignation that constitutes a hallmark of Hardy’s mature writings is noticeably absent.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dalziel, Pamela. “Hardy’s Unforgotten ‘Indiscretion’: The Centrality of an Uncollected Work,” Review of English Studies: A Quarterly Journal of English Literature and the English Language 43, no. 171 (August 1992): 347–366. Hardy, Thomas. An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Stephen E. Severn

“INDISSOLUBLE MATRIMONY” REBECCA WEST (1914) Rebecca West (1892–1983) was born Cicely Isabel Fairchild. Following a brief period on the London stage, West took her nom de plume from the outspoken heroine of Henrick Ibsen’s Rosmershalm when she began her writing career with the suffragette magazine the Freewoman. Besides her fiction, literary criticism, journalism, political analysis, and history, West’s most notable feminist writings include a piece on the suffragette Emily Davidson, who threw herself in front of the king’s horse at the Derby. In 1912 she wrote a taunting critique of H. G. WELLS’s Marriage, calling him “the Old Maid of novelists.” Piqued by West’s acerbic wit, the celebrated novelist invited her to

tea, a meeting that marked the start of their stormy 10year affair (the 45-year-old Wells was married). In 1914, West gave birth to their son Anthony. That same year West published her short story “Indissoluble Matrimony” in the first issue of Wyndham Lewis’s Blast alongside the work of Ezra Pound and Ford Madox Ford, firmly establishing her place amongst the modernists (see MODERNISM). She was a committed and outspoken suffragette, and her views on female sexuality remain distinctly modern. Like Lewis, West mocks English middle-class respectability and exposes the fear and loathing fueling obsessive propriety. In addition, the young West masterfully demonstrates how discourses of race are inextricably bound to issues of class, gender, and sexuality. While providing a darkly ironic psychological commentary on “the tie that binds,” this incisive feminist reveals an all-too-clear understanding of the power struggle that shapes modern marriage. “Indissoluble Matrimony” is presented from the husband’s point of view, thereby providing direct insight into a white middle-class male’s fearful view of the emergent New Woman and her rise in social status. To complicate matters, we learn that George Silverton’s wife Evadne has “black blood in her,” although she looks almost white. In contrast to her repressed, sickly husband, who has “a natural incapacity for excitement,” Evadne is bursting with life. Physically strong and athletic, she is repeatedly compared to an animal or described as catlike, emphasizing her sensuous nature. George, who has always been slightly scared of women, is initially seduced by the sound of her voice, her soulful singing, finding her exotic and falling in love with her childlike simplicity: her helplessness, her innocence, and her natural sexuality, so free of complexity in contrast to proper, white middle-class women. However, after 10 years of marriage, the prudish George now finds his wife’s “voluptuous presence” intolerable and is consumed by his “sense of outraged decency.” Although the couple had fancied themselves “orthodox Radicals” in the early years of their marriage, Evadne has gone on to embrace socialism, which George finds too extreme—a violation of his deeply entrenched middle-class values. After marry-


ing, moreover, Evadne began studying economics and writing for the socialist press. Learning that the socialist candidate for the town council has asked his wife to speak at a local meeting pushes George over the edge. In the face of Evadne’s intellectual superiority and her unflinching determination to make this speech, George becomes enraged. When Evadne storms out of the house, George follows her, imagining she is off on some secret tryst, since his middleclass beliefs dictate that feminine virtue and female sexuality are not compatible. Evadne, we discover, has gone for a moonlight swim in the lake on the neighboring moor. By the time George catches up to her, he is overcome with murderous rage; they engage in a deadly struggle, during which Evadne disappears into the darkness of the pond, so that George believes he has drowned his wife. Ravaged but alive, he slowly makes his way home, savoring his one night of triumph over a woman. However, when George finally arrives home, he finds Evadne tucked into their warm bed, sleeping soundly. Shivering with cold, George collapses into the bed, surrendering to the primal power of the female body. “Bodies like his,” he realizes, “do not kill bodies like hers.” Once the irony evaporates, West leaves her readers with Freudian insight into the unconscious forces that render the marriage bond “indissoluble.” Widely regarded as an important feminist writer, West developed similar ideas in her novels. The Return of the Soldier (1918), dealing with a soldier who is suffering from shell shock and the women who wait for him, reveals West’s grasp of Freudian psychology as well as her socialist sympathies. In her second novel, The Judge (1922), she bravely explores the torment of a single mother and the legacy it bestows: “Every mother is a judge who sentences the children for the sins of the father.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY Glendinning, Victoria. Rebecca West: A Life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987. Marcus, Jane. The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West, 1911–1917. New York: Viking Press, 1982. Norton, Ann V. Paradoxical Feminism: The Novels of Rebecca West. Lanham, Md.: International Scholars Publications, 2000.

West, Rebecca. The Only Poet and Short Stories. London: Virago, 1992. Elaine Pigeon


A story that illustrates SAKI’s (H. H. Munro’s) lesser-known talent for pathos, “The Interlopers,” collected in the posthumous anthology The Toys of Peace (1919), is a sort of Balkan gothic romance that moves from thrilling to hopeful to tragic, thanks to Saki’s usual twist ending. On a stormy winter evening, Ulrich von Gradwitz searches his Carpathian forest for his longtime foe, Georg Znaeym. The disputed land has been the cause of a bitter, raging blood feud between the families “for three generations.” Ulrich has long dreamed of shooting “down his neighbour in cold blood” and his archnemesis desires the same end for him. The two men suddenly come face to face beneath an enormous beech tree. As they hesitate to shoot, the storm brings down the tree, pinning them next to each other. Injured and bloody, the enemies laugh at each other’s fate. Ulrich tells Georg that his men will soon be there to deal with him as a poacher, while Georg counters that his men are not far behind him; they will reach him first and then roll the tree onto Ulrich. Georg notes that, with their lives in the balance, there are “no cursed interlopers to come between us”; by the end of the night, one of them will die at the hands of the other and his men. Yet slowly, wracked with pain as they consider their imprisonment, the neighbors begin to realize the folly of their lifelong animosity. They agree to be friends, imagine the surprise of the village at the sight of them riding into the “market-square together,” and then call out for their men in a spirit of cooperation and renewed hope. Ulrich sees figures approaching, and Georg asks whose men they are. But they are not men; they are wolves. Munro was a reporter in the Balkans from 1902 to 1904 for The Morning Post, and many of the stories he wrote as Saki use the area as an untamed frontier backdrop for slightly exotic suspense tales of passionate violence or family secrets, from the terrorist attack in “The Easter Egg” to a mystical death in “The Wolves of Cernogratz.” In contrast to many of Saki’s Balkan stories, however, which tend to show the area as a


pseudo-Oriental other on the wild fringes of Europe, “The Interlopers” shows its two protagonists as ultimately just as fate-controlled and pretense-bound as any of Saki’s English characters. In comparing men to beasts—indeed, suggesting that men are lesser creatures, for they refuse to rise above petty blood feuds yet cannot shake off the hypocritical, self-contradictory codes “of a restraining civilization”—and eliciting the reader’s sympathy for the men’s newfound amity, only to show that their friendship comes too late, Saki champions indifferent nature and implacable fate over the false civility and trivial covetousness of man. Ironies abound in this barbed fable: Hunters become the hunted, property disputers are trapped on the land, and public enemies in life become private friends in death.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Saki. The Complete Saki. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1982. Brian Gibson

“IN THE CAGE” HENRY JAMES (1898) “In the Cage,” a realist novella, was first published during what is known as HENRY JAMES’s ‘middle period.’ In this phase of his writing, James focused on political and social themes rather than on his more typical explorations of the nature of American consciousness set in Europe. “In the Cage” is the story of an unnamed young woman who works in a telegraph office in London and is engaged to a successful grocer, Mr. Mudge. Longing for the higher-class position her family once held, she spends her long workdays speculating about the lives and circumstances of her wealthy customers, based on clues she derives from the encoded words of their telegraphs. A dashing young wealthy couple in the telegraph office especially captures her fancy. Surmising that this pair—Lady Bradeen, a married woman, and Captain Everard, a bachelor—are having an illicit relationship, the telegraphist becomes preoccupied with developing a narrative about them based on the numerous frantic telegraphs through which the two orchestrate their meetings. The telegraphist focuses especially on Captain Everard, who, she feels, appreciates her intimate and perceptive understanding of his situation.

Mr. Mudge, undeterred, continues his entreaties for the telegraphist to transfer to an office closer to his grocery store, and she delays this commitment. Captain Everard and Lady Bradeen’s affair seems to become more and more precarious, and the telegraphist tracks the case fervently, suffering deeply when weeks go by with few or no visitations from Captain Everard. Finally, just when it seems the relationship will be exposed, the telegraphist is able to help the captain retrieve an incriminating document, using her obsessive memory for the bits of information she has gathered about the couple. After this narrow avoidance of scandal, Lady Bradeen’s husband dies, and she and the captain are on their way to a legitimate relationship. Upon hearing this news, the telegraphist resolves abruptly to join Mr. Mudge and the marriage and home he has offered her, and the story ends. One reason that “In the Cage” is significant in James’s oeuvre is that its main character has to work for a living; this novella thus offers evidence for what John Carlos Rowe has called “the other Henry James,” the novelist who sympathizes with financial hardship and class oppression. “In the Cage” explores in particular the changing position of women in fin de siècle London and the dangers of exposure inherent in the far more public role the New Woman could play, especially when she was required to work for a living. “In the Cage” has also been touted as an exploration of the artistic consciousness. Critics such as Leon Edel and L. C. Knights contend that the telegraphist’s experiences represent the plight of the artist. In this light, the artist (who may be James himself) is fated to observe the world from behind bars that prevent him or her from acting in the world, but this position allows the artist to concoct representations of it from an alternate perspective. A final important theme of the novella is the nature of knowledge and information. The story illustrates both a modern, technological form of information dissemination, the telegraph, and the kind of subjective, inductive knowledge gathering of which the telegraphist is exceptionally capable. In this novella, this combination is dangerous, an invitation to scandal. This anxiety prefigures the interest and concern that early 20th-century writers continued to have with the


spread of new technologies. “In the Cage” not only presents the issue of knowledge thematically but also conveys it stylistically: James’s characteristically ambiguous style of writing—a precursor, many critics claim, to the literary style of MODERNISM—necessitates the same interpretive acuity that the telegraphist has so skillfully honed.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Edel, Leon. Henry James: A Life. Rev. ed. New York: Harper, 1985. James, Henry. In the Cage. London: Hesparus, 2002. Knights, L. C. “Henry James and the Trapped Spectator.” In Explorations: Essays in Criticism Mainly on the Literature of the Seventeenth Century, 155–169. London: Chatto, 1946. Rowe, John Carlos. The Other Henry James. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998. Amy Jamgochian

“IN THE GREAT WAR” FAY WELDON (1985) FAY WELDON’s early collection Polaris and Other Stories both reflects and anticipates the concerns that engage her writing in its myriad permutations, before and since. By the time the collection was published, Weldon was a familiar female voice, in no small part because of her prolificacy (she had published nine novels and an earlier short story collection, not to mention the numerous television productions to her credit). The 12 “parables of modern life,” as the cover blurb describes the collection, offer a variety of ways in which Weldon’s skilled voice—ironic, sharp, unforgiving— narrates the center of human existence: love. The story “In the Great War” can be seen as a microcosm of her themes, characters, and strategies. “In the Great War” introduces characters that are familiar inhabitants of Weldon landscapes: female protagonists whose husbands or significant others leave them or cheat on them because they, being women, are too independent or too dependent, thus foregrounding the impossibility of pleasing the fickle male; women who have no compunction about poaching other women’s spouses; mothers who resent/abandon their children; and children who are initially creatures of incredible selfishness but who mature by the end of the tale, ready, perhaps, to take on their own role as responsible adults and future parents. The male char-

acters, objects of passion and obsession for the female protagonists, are conveyed in a manner to create confusion in the reader as to the source of such attraction, and, as characters, even those portrayed to be living the male ideal are much less interesting and dynamic than the women. “In the Great War” chronicles the lives and loves of Patty, whose husband Arthur leaves her for a more feminine woman, and her 19-year-old daughter Enid, who makes being feminine her life’s goal and succeeds in enticing her formerly married professor to marry her. Patty is a woman “who was what she was” (129) and so is easily defeated by Helene, “the enemy at the gate with her slim legs and bedroom eyes” (129). Enid, Patty’s daughter, is irrevocably scarred by her father’s abandonment, blaming her mother on the one hand— “Do we have to eat this? No wonder Dad left home!”— but taking up “the armoury her mother never wore” on the other, in order to avenge them both (131). Arthur, Patty’s husband, is persuaded “without much difficulty . . . to leave Patty and Enid, give up his job, paint pictures for a living and think the world well lost for love” (130–131). Neither Walter Walther, Enid’s 48-yearold professor, nor his wife Roseanne, older than Walter by four years, “stand a chance against Enid” (133), just as her mother before her “didn’t stand a chance against Helene” (129). The light mocking voice of the omniscient narrator spares none of the characters, and while ostensibly sympathetic to their behavior, the narrator often critiques it. For example, the narrator tells us that Helene is cross with Enid for doing what she herself had done with Enid’s father—“She was an old retired warrior, sitting in a castle she’d won by force of arms, shaking her head at the shockingness of war” (135)— thus exposing the wicked naivete of both women. The story utilizes Weldon’s typical narrative structure: short paragraphs created of brief and pointed sentences, serving to convey information that may often be quite devastating in a disarmingly humourous manner, a legacy from Weldon’s successful advertising days. The voice is familiar, even gossipy, in the manner of Victorian address to the “dear reader,” often punctuated with exclamation marks. For example, we are informed that Patty is taking estrogen and becoming more like Helene as a result, with a potted geranium


on her windowsill: “A geranium! Patty, who could never see the point in potted plants!” (135). The juxtaposition of the geranium as an example of Patty’s newfound femininity with the estrogen as its source highlights Weldon’s acuity about life’s ironies. The implication is, of course, that she has been “improved” and that by becoming more “feminine” she has in fact become less bitter and kinder. Indeed, at Enid’s wedding she “actually saw the point of shaking [Arthur’s] hand and even laying her cheek against his, in affection and forgiveness” (136). Accordingly, Enid marries Walter Walther, whose name is an example of Weldon’s bestowal of ridiculous names on her male comic heroes (think Bobbo in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) so that even if they cease to behave in a manner worthy of scorn as a narrative progresses, the reader is always reminded of their initial preposterous state. (Walter’s name has the added weight of being a weapon, one favoured by James Bond, no less, thus foregrounding his role in the women’s hostilities.) Wedded bliss, however, does not last, despite Enid’s best efforts: “Her curtains were always fully lined, her armpits smooth and washed, never merely sprayed. Enid never let her weapons get rusty. She would do better, thank you, than Patty, or Helene, or Roseanne” (137). And yet, she does not. The failure of these concrete manifestations of the good wife reflect Weldon’s consistent engagement with the ways in which women measure their self-worth on the basis of male-defined criteria of what that worth entails. Thus, Enid’s desire to have a baby precipitates Walter’s ultimate betrayal. After Roseanne sends their daughters to live with Walter and Enid (another common antimaternal characteristic in Weldon’s writings, appearing prominently in another story in the collection, “Christmas Lists”), Walter abandons the pregnant Enid and returns to Roseanne. It seems that Enid is doomed to misery. However, Weldon does offer a message of limited hope through sisterhood for such misguided women. The war ends when Enid fittingly gives birth to a daughter and rejoices, although the “birth of a girl was . . . cause for commiseration rather than rejoicing.” She “abandoned a battle which was really none of her making; she laid down her arms” (142) and embraces her

mother, stepmother, and stepdaughters. She lives with her daughter and stepdaughters in a home with no men, returns to college, and succeeds in a new career. In the closing paragraph we are told she has become “something of a propagandist in the new cold war against men . . . walk[ing] around linked arm-in-arm with women” (143). What, after all, could be more natural than women linked? But Weldon does not offer this unity of females as an unambiguous solution to the hostilities and travails of women for and against the gender divide. In the story’s last lines she reminds us that however “treacherous” the old “male allies” had been, “[w]ho is to say what will happen next?” (143). Whenever Weldon has chosen to investigate that particular question, be it in Polaris or in her writings since, she has done it with an unflinching eye for the truth of the way many women live their lives.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Weldon, Fay. Polaris and Other Stories. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985. Nancy Peled

“IN THE SHADOW OF WAR” BEN OKRI (1983) First published in the West Africa magazine in 1983, “In the Shadow of War” was later included as the first story in the collection Stars of the New Curfew (1988). Based largely on BEN OKRI’s experience of the Nigerian civil war and written from the perspective of a child, it relies a good deal on economy and intensity of expression for its narrative power. The story is written in a bare, realistic style that vividly captures the shades of a murky war. Okri’s method seems to be to allow the description to speak for itself while significant details pile up and suggest the hallucinatory visions the war causes. The story opens with the arrival of three soldiers in a village close to the express road. The soldiers are observed in their activities by Omovo, the child protagonist, who is glued to the news reports on the radio, much to the annoyance of his father. Down below, the soldiers go on drinking wine and while away their time in playing draughts. The soldiers call to the children playing near them in order to find out more about a veiled woman who has been walking through the vil-


lage. One of the soldiers tells Omovo that they suspect the woman may be a spy. Omovo returns to his position beside the window to wait for the woman in the headscarf to appear. As reported, she does not have a shadow and her feet do not touch the ground. She is unfazed by the children’s attempts to disturb her. While waiting for the strange woman to appear, Omovo dozes off and wakes up late in the afternoon to realize that the veiled woman has just crossed the village, with the soldiers in pursuit. This time the woman is carrying a red basket on her head. Omovo sees her go into a cave full of women and children. On her way back she is intercepted by the soldiers and killed when she refuses to give them information. Omovo, the sole witness, runs home but faints on the way. He wakes up to find his father drinking with the soldiers, who have carried him back from the forest. Okri’s story has been described as an “antiquest” (Thorpe). In a society destroyed by ethnic warfare, the stance of the impartial witness is effectively embodied in the experience of the uninvolved, sensitive child.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Moh, Felicia Oka. Ben Okri: An Introduction to His Early Fiction. Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension Publishing, 2002. Okri, Ben. Stars of the New Curfew. London: Penguin, 1999. Thorpe, Michael. Review of Stars of the New Curfew. World Literature Today (Spring 1990): 349. R. S. Nanda

INTIMACY HANIF KUREISHI (1998) Intimacy is the most unapologetic and autobiographical work to date from Hanif Kureishi (b. 1954) and was published in 1998 to a roar of controversy. Critics were appalled by what they saw as the novella’s barely veiled depiction of Kureishi’s real-life breakup with partner Tracey Scoffield. Like Kureishi, Intimacy’s narrator Jay is a successful British-Asian writer who, also like Kureishi, leaves the mother of his two children for a much younger woman who plays in a rock band. Jay is an unrepentant philanderer and self-obsessed misogynist whose callousness to his wife and children is only occasionally mitigated by moments of narcissistic concern for the pain they will feel on losing him. Their loss, by contrast, barely seems to register to him. In

one of the novella’s most notorious and frequently cited lines, Jay opines “there are some fucks for which a person would have their partner and children drown in a freezing sea” (96). During a brief moment of guilt about his imminent and unannounced departure, Jay consoles himself by imagining that his partner Susan will eventually find another man and forget her pain. “Not that there will be a queue,” he thinks. “Nevertheless, the most grotesque people get laid, and even married” (95). This vicious contempt for a character seemingly based on his own former partner has proved too much for many reviewers to stomach. More generous critics have recognized the book as an ironic critique of the way egotism is justified through the popular bourgeois mantra of fulfilment, self-expression and creativity and as an important contribution to the burgeoning genre of male confessional writing popularized by writers such as Nick Hornby, Blake Morrison, and Andrew O’Hagen. Like much of Kureishi’s recent work, Intimacy departs dramatically from the writer’s earlier thematic investment in issues of postcolonialism, race, and sexual identity. In its style and psychological purview, the novella seems to have far more in common with the work of the great 19th-century Russian realists whom Kureishi (and Jay) admires so much than it does with the politically charged explorations of ethnicity and gender in the writing of other British-Asian contemporaries such as Monica Ali, Suhayl Saadi, and Meera Syal. There is no “plot” in a conventional sense: The narrative is composed of Jay’s internal musings on the night before he is set to leave his family for good. As he spends what this family little suspects is his last few hours with them, he contemplates both telling Susan about his plans and calling them off entirely. Jay is a character too enamored with the contemplation of “the splendours and depths of [my] own mind” (29) to make decisions easily. He rationalizes his numerous infidelities and his recent besottedness with the young “part-woman” (117) Nina on the basis that he still believes in “the possibilities of intimacy. In love” (106). This alleged faith in idealized love seems unconvincing when read against Jay’s frequently evinced dread of emotional closeness and committed monogamy. He castigates Susan because she, unlike himself, “lacks


detachment” (88), a failing he ascribes to all the women he has been with: “Whenever I was with a woman, I considered leaving her. . . .” Given this psychology, it seems unlikely that Jay, as he himself seems only too aware, will ever find enduring happiness with anyone. The narrative seems to hint that his flight from the domestic home is less of a liberating rejection of middle-class values than the very epitome of them—what, after all, could be more clichéd or depressingly routine than the midlife crisis–induced confusion of novelty with real change and growth? Jay occasionally approaches this realization—“what is the point of leaving if this failure reproduces itself with every woman?” he wonders—but ultimately remains caught in his own illusions, declaring as he walks hand in hand with the nubile and accommodating Nina that “the best of everything had accumulated in this moment. It could only have been love” (123). The draw of Intimacy lies in its brutally honest depiction of the often humorous albeit repellent extent of human narcissism and in its ambiguous position between the intimacy of autobiographic confession and the greater detachment of fictional satire.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kureishi, Hanif. Intimacy. London: Faber, 1998. Christine Fergus

“INVISIBLE JAPANESE GENTLEMEN, THE” GRAHAM GREENE (1965) “The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen” first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in November 1965. The piece was later published in the volume of short stories May We Borrow Your Husband? in March 1967. The volume is subtitled “And Other Comedies of the Sexual Life,” and indeed the collection of stories is significantly lighter in tone than much of GRAHAM GREENE’s work. There is a distinct sense of amusement prevalent throughout the volume, and while the authorial focus is still unreservedly on human relationships, the seriousness with which Greene had previously approached such issues is conspicuous by its absence. “The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen” is set in a fashionable London restaurant and is primarily a studied piece of observation rather than of action. Greene’s

examination of the processes of recognition and alienation, of the way people interact, observe one another, and coexist, raises a number of fundamental questions regarding the relationship of the individual to the world as a whole. The plot is simple, taking place within a few brief minutes and confined to three tables in the corner of the restaurant. The characters remain seated, stationary throughout the body of the text, and the only movement in the piece is that of the narrator’s gaze as he surveys the room. Communication is virtually nonexistent as, although the girl and her fiancé talk profusely, they rarely connect. Their conversation is broken, a series of unfinished questions and statements, unformulated responses and throwaway, irrelevant comments. Her speech constantly intersects his as she strives to make herself heard, lamenting, “Darling, you don’t listen, do you?” They are continually talking at cross-purposes, and it is as if two separate conversations are taking place. Their effort to converse becomes a battle of words in which both speak but neither listen, and the connection is lost irrevocably. The girl herself is particularly isolated, surrounded by words that mean nothing to her. Even the titles she chooses for her books are rejected and replaced with somebody else’s misinterpretations. The softness of the title “The Ever-Rolling Stream” sits in stark contrast to the publisher’s choice, “The Chelsea Set.” Even her fiancé cannot feel an affinity for her artistic sensibility. His response to “The Azure Blue” reveals their interplay to be more of a process of alienation than a lovers’ discourse. The Japanese gentlemen of the title are indeed invisible to their fellow diners. Their conversation cuts across the various other dialogues, momentarily distracting the narrator from his observations. Physically situated directly between the couple and the narrator, their language, their “incomprehensible tongue,” quite literally forces a distance between the main characters. Yet despite their violent intrusion into the dialogue they remain unnoticed, “invisible” to the girl. Absorbed in her own attempts to dominate the speech she is unable to recognize the very existence of others. Greene’s story functions as a cutting critique of the way in which language can isolate rather than connect,


and it exposes the tenuous links that bind human to human and individual to individual.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Greene, Graham. Collected Stories: 21 Stories. London: Penguin, 1993. Alice Smith


Historians of the Irish short story tradition regularly highlight its origins in the Gaelic oral tradition and the short realistic, supernatural tale called an eachtra (Averill, 20). These remnants of the oral tradition can be seen in stories written in English by MARIA EDGWORTH, Gerald Griffin, and William Carleton at the beginning of the 19th century and by Daniel Corkery, GEORGE MOORE, and SOMERVILLE AND ROSS toward the end. Like the stories produced in SCOTLAND in the 19th century, Irish stories tended to be proudly national in character, anecdotally describing scenes, memories, customs and modes of life in isolated settings. Their writers also tried to capture local dialect— or a selective version of it—giving voice to the Irish peasantry. The eachtra’s emphasis on dramatic stories of fantastic, creepy events was also one of the factors behind the emergence of a parallel Irish tradition of ghost stories and gothic tales most famously represented by SHERIDAN LE FANU, OSCAR WILDE, and BRAM STOKER. Yet all these writers wrote in English for practical reasons. Few of them could speak the language, and they also had to sell their stories to magazines with English audiences. Although critics recognize the importance of the Irish short story to the country’s literary history, there is some difference of opinion about its dominant characteristics. This is because the short story in Ireland has been created out of a number of opposing political and cultural positions: Catholic/Protestant, landowner/ peasant, country dweller/city dweller, exile/homebody. Some critics writing about the Irish short story as it developed in the early part of the 20th century have suggested that the genre became a hybrid form, taking elements of the oral tradition but mixing them with the experimental forms used by Russian writers like Ivan Turgenev and MODERNIST writers (see JAMES JOYCE). Other critics take as a starting point Ireland’s long-held

status as a colonial subject under English rule. H. E. BATES’s description in The Modern Short Story (1941) is typical: “The Irish short story has been bred of vastly different qualities from the English. Where art and people fight for existence, whether against religious, moral or political tyranny or against plain indifference, and where such art is naturally poetic and such people are naturally and proudly belligerent, the tendency of all expression is bound to be revolutionary” (148–149). Corkery’s stories in The Hounds of Banba (1920), set at the time of the Easter Rising of 1916 and the AngloIrish war fit this pattern. They offer revolutionary adventurers as heroes performing daring, sometimes brutal, deeds in the name of the nationalist struggle and trying to evade capture by the notorious section of the English army dubbed the “Black and Tans.” Another recurrent theme in the Irish short story is the formative influence of the Catholic Church and other official institutions on daily life. According to many critics, it is the individual’s ability to look or leap beyond the forces around them—either physically or imaginatively—by which characters are judged. This feeling is particularly strong in Irish writing of the first half of the 20th century. As Deborah Averill writers, “Most Irish writers regarded their society as peculiar, self-defeating, and out-of-step with other western societies” (24). After the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, there was a deliberate policy on the part of the new government to encourage an Ireland that stood apart from world affairs. In this oppressive atmosphere divorce was forbidden and sexual transgressions punished; Irish became the official language of the country, and in 1937 the new constitution confirmed the Catholic Church as the country’s spiritual leader. The Censorship Act of 1929 resulted in the suppression of writers’ works, and several went into exile, including Liam O’Flaherty and SAMUEL BECKETT. This feeling of isolation was fostered by Ireland’s decision to remain neutral in World War II. Of the writers who remained in Ireland, many, including FRANK O’CONNOR and SEAN O’FAOLAIN, painted an ambivalent picture of postrevolutionary Ireland and the sense of disillusionment they felt (see O’Connor’s “The GUESTS OF THE NATION” and O’Faolain’s “The Patriot”). In these stories, which mix romance and realism, the countryside, the Gaelic


language, and the peasantry become symbols of old values that have slowly been lost. One of the claims made by O’Connor, and others in his generation, was that he and his compatriots had had to specialize in the short story because their society was simply too inward-looking, small-minded, and rigid to allow the kind of wide scope needed by the novelist. By the time O’Connor died in 1966, writers who dared to be outspoke—EDNA O’BRIEN and JOHN MCGAHERN, for example—could still expect to face a torrent of criticism. Since then, however, as the Church and State have become less directly influential, the theme of the individual versus the oppressive state no longer preoccupies short story writers quite as much. According to Maurice Harmon, writing in 1982, “The struggle now is not with laws of church and state or with social conformity, but with personal relationship and through individual powers of perception and understanding” (65). Many critics would debate Harmon’s assertion about the extent of this shift—the violence in Northern Ireland remained something that many writers felt obliged to confront—but the context for and nature of Irish short stories has widened. For example, as Dermot Bolger points out, it is by no means certain that Irish writers necessarily consider them-

selves postcolonial subjects needing to work out their own and their country’s vexed relationship with England. Since the 1970s Clare Boylan, Neil Jordan, John McCardle, BERNARD MCLAVERTY, and WILLIAM TREVOR are just some of the writers who have benefited from an expanding Irish publishing industry and its increased willingness to publish stories dealing not with the rural scene or revolutionary nationalism but with the details of daily life in modern Ireland, “the drama of human interaction and the nuances of the individual’s inner life” (Harmon, 66). (See also JAMES JOYCE and ELIZABETH BOWEN.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Averill, Deborah. The Irish Short Story from George Moore to Frank O’Connor. New York: University Press of America, 1982. Bates, H. E. The Modern Short Story. Boston: The Writer, 1941. Bolger, Dermot, ed. The New Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction. London: Picador, 2000. Harmon, Maurice. “First Impressions.” In The Irish Short Story, edited by Patrick Rafroidi and Terence Brown, 63– 78. Lille: Publications de l’universite de lille III, 1982. Thompson, Richard. The Appeal of the Modern Irish Short Story. New York: Whitston, 1989. Joe Davis



JAMES, HENRY (1843–1916) Born on April 15, 1843, in New York City, Henry James was the second of the five children of Henry James (1811–82) and Mary Walsh James (1810–82), and much of his emotional life was shaped by his lifelong rivalry with his older brother, William (1842–1910). Of his three younger siblings, Henry was closest to his only sister Alice (1848–92), the youngest. The family traveled in Europe before settling in Newport, Rhode Island. Although Henry attended Harvard Law School for a term and studied visual art briefly, he was educated among his family. In his youth, he became friends with his cousin, Minny Temple (d. 1870), whose death at 24 had a lasting impact on him and his art. He also met William Dean Howells (1837–1920), who published James’s work in Harper’s; Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935); and Thomas Sergeant Perry, with all of whom he maintained friendships into his adult life. At 17, James suffered an injury that prevented him from serving in the U.S. Civil War; some scholars suggest that the injury was also responsible for James’s celibacy, a subject of recent biographical discussion. James began his writing career anonymously in 1864 with the publication of a short story, “A Tragedy of Error,” and a book review in North American Review. His first signed work appeared the following year. He serialized his first novel, Watch and Ward, in 1871 and published a volume of short stories, A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales, in 1875. He also published a travel book and a novel, Roderick Hudson (1876). He

moved to Europe and took rooms on Bolton Street in London. He resided in England for the rest of his life and became a British citizen in 1915. He seems to have enjoyed his participant-observer status in British and French society and among the American expatriates and visitors in Europe. The success of DAISY MILLER (1878) brought both praise and blame. His portrait of a young ingenue is considered a fine re-creation of youth and innocence, but it offended some in the United States who felt that no properly brought-up young woman would behave as Daisy does in going out unescorted to meet a man. The novella establishes James as a master of prose fiction and features a characteristic Jamesian theme of the brash innocence of the New World in contrast with the corrupt, jaded, and sometimes jealous propriety of the Old World. James also has a talent for exemplifying the innocence of Americans through the consciousness of young women. He shows astute psychological observation in his novellas, such as Washington Square, and novels, such as The Portrait of a Lady, that concern young women coming to maturity. James met Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840– 94) in 1880 and developed a close friendship with her. They seem to have shared living quarters in Bellosguardo near Venice in 1887, and Alice James sent Fenimore a message from her deathbed in 1892, the year that Robert Louis Stevenson (who had named James as his executor) died. Two years later, Fenimore was found dead in Venice; James believed she had



committed suicide. Biographical critics see the influence of the friendship most strongly in the short novel The ASPERN PAPERS (1888) and in “The BEAST IN THE JUNGLE” (1902). Three other deaths in this period had an impact on James’s life: that of Clover Hooper Adams by her own hand in 1885, that of Elizabeth Boott Duveneck after childbirth in 1888, and that of Fanny Kemble from old age in 1893. In 1890, James began a five-year attempt to change the direction of his career. He was successful as an author of short stories, novels, travel writing, and miscellaneous essays, but he wanted to write for the stage. He failed notoriously. His adaptation of The American (1891) was considered pale and unoriginal in comparison with the novel (1877). Some plays were never staged, and Guy Domville opened in 1895 on the same night as Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Domville was criticized for its melodrama, as were some of James’s early novels, and it closed after its first night. Although James did not achieve the reputation as a dramatist that he sought, the experience sharpened his skill with dialogue in his fiction. He experimented more successfully when he turned to writing ghost stories in 1898. The TURN OF THE SCREW (1898) is a fine example of a ghost story with ambiguous supernatural and psychological elements, as is “The Jolly Corner” (1908). He became known as the Master for his extraordinary skill in composing exquisite fiction, both short and long. Among the former are “BROOKSMITH,” “GREVILLE FANE,” “The FIGURE IN THE CARPET,” “The REAL THING,” and “The TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.” After his 50th birthday in 1893, James, all too aware of the passing of his youth, seems to have looked to young men for emotional sustenance. He had a particularly affectionate correspondence with a sculptor, Hendrik Christian Andersen (1872–1940). He also developed friendships with younger writers, including JOSEPH CONRAD (1857–1924), Stephen Crane (1871–1900), and H. G. WELLS (1866–1946). He broke with Wells over a satirical chapter in Boon, the alleged literary remains of George Boon, in 1915, as he had earlier broken with Thomas Perry over the latter’s criticism of James’s decision to live abroad. (James encountered Perry in France in 1907 and

resumed the friendship.) James formed other important friendships, perhaps more like that with Fenimore, late in life with Edith Wharton (c. 1861–1937) and LUCY CLIFFORD. In 1899, James bought Lamb House in Rye, where he settled to write in quiet. He published The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903), and The Golden Bowl (1904). He lectured in the United States in 1904 and published a book about his travels. His reputation grew, and he published from 1906 to 1909 The Novels and Tales of Henry James (the New York Edition). He wrote prefaces that note the origins of his fictions and create his aesthetic for fiction; he rewrote some of his early work in his mature style. The exhaustion from the endeavor seems to have triggered a brief breakdown. Oxford awarded him an honorary degree in 1912. For his 70th birthday, his friends and literary colleagues commissioned a portrait by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), which a suffragette wielding a meat cleaver attacked in 1914; she protested not the subject or the painter but the plight of women painters. The painting was later repaired. James received the Order of Merit about two months before his death after a series of strokes on February 28, 1916.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Edel, Leon. Henry James: A Life. New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985. James, Henry. Collected Stories. 2 vols. London: Everyman, 2000–2001. ———. Complete Stories 1864–1874. New York: Library of America, 1999. ———. Complete Stories 1874–1884. New York: Library of America, 2000. ———. Complete Stories 1884–1891. New York: Library of America, 2000. ———. The Complete Tales of Henry James. 12 vols. Edited by Leon Edel. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1962–1964. ———. The Portable Henry James. Edited by John Anchard. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. Kaplan, Fred. Henry James: The Imagination of Genius. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1992. Novick, Sheldon M. Henry James: The Young Master. New York: Random House, 1996. Karen Keck


JAMES, M. R. (1862–1936)

Montague Rhodes James was born in Goodnestone, Kent, the fourth and youngest child of his family. He was a solitary child and spent more time in libraries reading archaic texts than playing with other children. His zeal for reading led him first to Eton College and then King’s College, Cambridge, where he excelled and was quickly promoted to fellow, them dean and tutor. In 1905 he was made provost for King’s College, and from 1913 to 1915 he served as vice chancellor for the university. In 1918, he returned to Eton as provost, where he remained until his death in 1936. Despite his exhaustive career as a scholar, James is remembered instead for his ghost stories, the first of which was published in the 1904 collection Ghosts of an Antiquary. The sources for these tales can be traced to his childhood, when he suffered from chronic nightmares, and his Dickensian pastime of telling ghosts stories on Christmas Eve, which began during his time as a student at Eton. The success of his first volume of ghost stories prompted four more collections, including More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), A Thin Ghost and Others (1919), A Warning to the Curious (1925), and The Collected Ghost Stories of M. R. James (1931). The impact of his stories not only on his contemporaries but on present-day writers such as Terry Lamsley and Fritz Leiber has led to his being considered the father of the modern ghost story. The recurring theme in James’s works is not only the psychology behind the ghost story but his emphasis that the events told are factual accounts; he thus draws his reader into believing in the supernatural because of recovered documents or trustworthy narrators, as in one of his most famous stories, “Oh, WHISTLE, AND I’LL COME TO YOU, MY LAD.” (See also “LOST HEARTS.”)

BIBLIOGRAPHY Cox, Michael. M. R. James. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. James, M. R. Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. ———. Collected Ghost Stories. London: Wordsworth, 1992. ———. The Haunted Doll’s House and Other Ghost Stories. London: Penguin, 2000. Amanda Mordavsky

“JANET’S REPENTANCE” GEORGE ELIOT (1858) “Janet’s Repentance” is part of a trio of stories by GEORGE ELIOT that was first serialized as Scenes of Clerical Life in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. The other two stories in the group are “The SAD FORTUNES OF THE REVEREND AMOS BARTON” and “Mr. Gilfil’s LoveStory.” This story focuses on Janet Dempster, whose alcoholic husband verbally and physically abuses her. Janet herself turns to alcohol. Though she has friends and a mother, Janet initially refuses their gentle offers of assistance. After Dempster comes home drunk and in so fierce a mood that he throws Janet out in her nightdress, Janet turns to her friend Mrs. Pettifer for help and shelter. After this she accepts the help of an Evangelical minister, Mr. Tryan, whom she had earlier reviled since her religious loyalties were to her pastor, Mr. Crewe. When Janet’s husband has an accident, she takes care of him, but he dies of his injuries. After her husband’s death, more friends rally around Janet. Though she is tempted to take up drinking again, Janet manages, with the help of Mr. Tryan, to stay sober. Unfortunately Mr. Tryan is ill with consumption (tuberculosis); Janet does her best to see that he is comfortable and accepts the help of others before he dies of the disease. The end of the narrative speaks of Janet as a living memorial to Tryan. The help Janet receives from Mr. Tryan is an instance of the working out of Eliot’s humanism. Eliot handles even the character of the drunken, violent Robert Dempster with compassion in this story. The events of the story go beyond church factional bickering and exposure of alcoholism to offer insights into the human condition. Eliot’s omniscient narrator often takes a compassionate stance and offers broad understanding of everyday struggles and suffering: “Yet surely, surely the only true knowledge of our fellow-man is that which enables us to feel with him—which gives us a fine ear for the heart-pulses that are beating under the mere clothes of circumstance and opinion” (229). The narrator also clearly expresses the idea that people need one another in order to be fully human and alive. One of the ways the reader sees Janet’s transformation is through Janet’s renewed need to help others and to reestablish friendships she had neglected while she


was bound to Dempster. Critics also cite the story as an example of realism, as Thomas Noble points out, however, realism is not a word Eliot used, but she wrote of trying to honestly portray real people and their struggles (viii). Human experience in Eliot’s fictional world always involves trials and personal challenges that her main characters learn to meet and work through with the help of others. Her characters often have changes of heart brought about by circumstances that are at least initially beyond their control. Eliot sees that the human soul is “full of unspoken evil and unacted good” (252).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Demetrakopoulos, Stephanie. “George Eliot’s ‘Janet’s Repentance’: The First Literary Portrait of a Woman Addict and Her Recovery,” Midwest Quarterly 35, no. 1 (1993): 95–108. Eliot, George. Scenes of Clerical Life. Edited by Thomas Noble. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Hertz, Neil. George Eliot’s Pulse. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003. Susan Bernardo

“JE NE PARLE PAS FRANÇAIS” KATHMANSFIELD (1918) A pivotal story in KATHMANSFIELD’s career, “Je ne parle pas français” is also a key modernist short story (see MODERNISM). The piece was composed over two weeks in the last year of WORLD WAR I, at the time when Mansfield was developing the fatal stages of the tuberculosis that would kill her. She wrote to her husband John Middleton Murry that the story was a “cry against corruption” (1951, 149), and it reveals a more cynical, more cruel view of human personality than her earlier stories. It is also the first story told in a persona not her own. “Je ne parle pas français” was originally published privately by Murry’s Heron Press; early reviews noted a similarity to the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, particularly to Notes from Underground. The story was included in the 1920 collection BLISS, published by Constable, but only after Mansfield agreed to cut several passages consisting of explicit sexual material. Bliss as a collection received generally positive reviews, and “Je ne parle pas français” garnered quite a bit of attention for its amoral narrator and frank subject matter. The story is told from the point of view of Raoul Duquette, who describes himself as “twenty-six years ERINE ERINE

old and a Parisian, a true Parisian.” Raoul is a writer whose book titles (False Coins, Wrong Doors, Left Umbrellas) reveal the emptiness of his being and the deceptiveness of his nature. He claims he has no memories of childhood save one: a sexual encounter with an African laundress (one of the suppressed passages). Raoul traces his own adult sexual deviance—he is promiscuous and irresistible to women, probably bisexual, a sometime prostitute and procurer—to this incident. He maintains that people have no soul: “I don’t believe in the human soul. I never have. I believe that people are like portmanteaux—packed with certain things, started going, thrown about, tossed away, dumped down, lost and found, half emptied suddenly, or squeezed fatter than ever, until finally the Ultimate Porter swings them on to the Ultimate Train and away they rattle.” These themes of deviance, of emptiness, permeate the whole text. Raoul’s reflections on the nature of human experience and personality, especially when he sees the sentence je ne parle pas français on some blotting paper in the café, bring Raoul to recollections of his friend, an English writer named Dick Harmon with whom he was infatuated. They spent a great deal of time together when Dick was first in Paris, making a study of French literature. Raoul was insulted when Dick suddenly had to return to England, but agreed to help him find rooms some time later when the Englishman came back to Paris, this time with a beautiful young woman named Mouse. It is Mouse’s line “je ne parle pas français” that gives the story its title and haunts Raoul; it is what she says to him upon meeting him and her final words to him the last time he sees her. A few hours after their arrival in Paris, Dick abandons her, ostensibly to return to his mother. Raoul promises to come back again to see Mouse and make sure she is all right, but he never does. In the creation of the narrator Raoul, Mansfield establishes a character who is entirely artificial, who sees himself as a literary creation and the world around him as text. He is an unreliable narrator, a figure who illustrates Mansfield’s ideas about the tenuousness of the self and the impossibility of taking action and representing experience. This was a wholly new direction for her as a writer, resulting in her first truly modernist story. According to her letters, the tension between


Frenchness and Englishness is also crucial, a tension that characterizes modernism as a whole as the text moves between symbolism and a self-conscious irony in regarding those symbols. Everything about Raoul, including his Frenchness, is in some sense a self-reflective creation. Finally, the representation of sex— including Raoul’s purported homosexuality—is quite daring, and Mansfield uses it to contribute to the ambiguity that surrounds him and his actions in the story. Little critical attention was paid to this story for many years, as critics were not entirely certain how it fit into the Mansfield canon; it seemed a radical departure from what earlier critics called her “lyrical,” “delicate,” or “feminine” style. In recent years, however, the story’s engagement with homosexuality and desire, as well as its blurring of boundaries between masculinity and femininity, have made it a much-discussed text.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Dunbar, Pamela. Radical Mansfield: Double Discourse in Katherine Mansfield’s Short Stories. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997. Henstra, Sarah. “Looking the Part: Performative Narration in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood and Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Je ne parle pas français,’ ” Twentieth-Century Literature 46, no. 2 (2000): 125–149. Mansfield, Katherine. Letters to John Middleton Murry. New York: Knopf, 1951. ———. Short Stories of Katherine Mansfield. 1937. Edited and with an introduction by John Middleton Murry. New York: Knopf, 1967. Meisel, Perry. “What the Reader Knows; or, The French One.” In Katherine Mansfield: In from the Margin, edited by Roger Robinson, 112–118. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. Janine Utell

JOHNNY LUDLOW ELLEN (MRS. HENRY) WOOD (1868) Johnny Ludlow was the title character, orphaned teenage narrator, and pseudonym adopted by ELLEN WOOD for her most popular and highly regarded series of short stories, which appeared irregularly in the Argosy, the monthly periodical Wood edited, between January 1868 and June 1891. Wood probably invented the Johnny Ludlow persona to conceal the fact that she was the author of almost half of the contents of

her magazine. The stories began as a series of almost naive rural schoolboy sketches but soon deepened in complexity to encompass a wide range of genres and themes, including political agitation, rural deprivation, legal inequality, bigamy, crime, and even social comedy. The tales are mainly rooted in realism, although Wood’s predilection for sensation is also evident in many narratives. Although there are more than 90 individually titled stories, only those that have been reprinted in modern anthologies are discussed here. The first series of 1874, originally simply called Johnny Ludlow, was a collection of 26 of the more somber stories Wood had written up to that date. In “Lease the Pointsman” the eponymous railway worker, in a moment of extreme stress, fails to change the points at a busy junction, causing the deaths of a colleague and several passengers. He suffers agonies of conscience because he is aware that his lapse of memory is responsible for the deaths. “Reality or Delusion?” is a ghost story involving a love triangle among two strong-willed women and a vacillating young man, who ultimately proves to be a thief. He commits suicide only to reappear briefly as a ghost to his original lover. “Going through the Tunnel” is an early ingenious crime story set in a railway carriage. A wallet is stolen when a train plunges into a dark tunnel, but the thief is the least likely suspect—a formula that later became a cliché. The second series (1880) included Wood’s name on the title page for the first time. G. K. CHESTERTON reprinted “Abel Crew” in an anthology of early DETECTIVE FICTION. Crew, an herbalist, is indicted for manslaughter when the pills he supplies are believed to have caused the death of twins. However, he is eventually freed when it is discovered that a young woman kept her own similar-looking pills on top of the same cupboard, and the wrong medicine was accidentally administered to the children. The best story in the third series (1885) is “Jellico’s Pack,” in which a group of working-class women are fleeced by an unscrupulous draper who tricks them into buying on credit. A near suicide of one of the women is averted by the financial intervention of Johnny. The fourth series (1890) contains “A Curious Experience,” one of the best of all Victorian ghost stories. Four visitors to a spa lodging house each attempt to


sleep in a specific room but instead endure the torment of a restless night. It is later discovered that a doctor, a previous tenant, probably poisoned his wife there. The supernatural presence ensures that this woman’s story of oppression can never be entirely forgotten. Dorothy L. Sayers reprinted “The Ebony Box” from the fifth series (1890) as an example of an early crime story. A small box full of gold pieces goes missing, and a young man who is suspected of taking it is ostracized. However, the box was accidentally caught up in some heavy material and is eventually relocated. The young man is triumphantly exonerated. Sayers did Wood a disservice by reprinting this tale, since there are several superior Johnny Ludlow crime stories. The only tale that has been reprinted from the sixth series (1899) is “The Mystery at Number Seven.” A woman servant is found dead at the bottom of some stairs and is believed to have been murdered by a milkman. However, it is later discovered that her closest female friend killed her in a brief moment of jealous insanity because the milkman preferred her. Toward the end of Wood’s career she found the planning and writing of long novels too tiring, but she continued to invent novellas for Johnny Ludlow, her favorite character, and these tales are her most enduring legacy to the short story format.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Flowers, Michael. “The Johnny Ludlow Stories,” Available online URL: html. Accessed on August 21, 2004. Michael Flowers

“JOURNAL OF MISTRESS JOAN MARTYN, THE” VIRGINIA WOOLF (1906) This story, first published in 1979, was written in 1906 when VIRGINIA WOOLF was considering becoming a historian. The story reflects on the complex relationship between history and fiction. A female historian lights on an old hall in the countryside and asks to be shown the family archives, among which several manuscripts by the owner’s ancestors are to be found. She borrows the diary of Joan Martyn, written in the 15th century. The second part of the story consists of Joan’s diary, with its double perspective: the historical, seem-

ingly realistic description of her daily life, her encounters with peasants, the preparations for her impending wedding, and the way her mother runs the estate while the men are in the army versus the imaginative dimension of her life, as she reads aloud to the household and welcomes a poet who tells his tales and shows his illuminated manuscripts. This early work foreshadows later Woolfian themes: the interplay between fact and fiction, the figure of the anonymous author able to capture “the world without a self,” and the voice given back to women who have been silenced by patriarchy. However realistic it may seem, with its focus on the ordinary, the story also questions the very notion of realism: The embedded structure and numerous allusions to illuminated pictures suggest that an objective representation of real life is illusory, that reality may be grasped only through the filters of discourse and imagery, in a word, through cultural legacy. The articulation of the present and the medieval past illustrates that we can never reconstruct an exact image of the Middle Ages but can only create our own conception of it. It has been suggested that Woolf’s numerous visits to London museums around the time the story was written made her aware of this. As evidenced in the 1905 Guide to the Exhibition Galleries of the British Museum, the Department of Manuscripts showed a “Book of Hours, fifteenth century, with autograph inscriptions of Henry VII, Henry VIII” (122) alongside romantic medievalist manuscripts such as Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron, an autograph of Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott, and the epilogue to the Idylls of the King by Lord Tennyson (122). These items were a reminder of the links between history and fiction and our constant rereading and reassessment of the past and culture.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Utz, Richard, and Tom Shippery, eds. Medievalism in the Modern World. Essays in Honour of Leslie J. Workman. Turhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1998. Woolf, Virginia. “The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn.” In The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf, edited by Susan Dick, 33–62. New York: Harcourt, 1985. Workman, Leslie K., ed. Medievalism in England. Cambridge: Brewer, 1992. Caroline Marie


JOYCE, JAMES (1882–1941)

Born in Dublin on February 2, 1882, James Joyce was the oldest of 10 surviving children in a family that moved homes continuously because of its fluctuating financial situation. Coming of age in a family in the midst of a long decline, Joyce knew the whole range of Dublin life. Educated in the Catholic Jesuit tradition, he was a gifted student, especially with languages. Drawn to the intricacies, mystery, and ritual of esoteric Catholicism, Joyce attended the Jesuit Clongowes Wood College until he was withdrawn after his father lost his job. Joyce oscillated between periods of intense religious fervor and turning against Catholicism. Like Ireland, Catholicism, even when Joyce appeared to have rejected it, never ceased to be a major force in his writing. In 1893 he attended Belvedere College, where he completed his secondary education, before attending University College Dublin, where the writings of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen profoundly influenced him. While in college, he published reviews and articles, wrote plays and poetry, and graduated with a degree in modern language in 1902. After graduation he went to Paris, where he thought he would attend medical school but where he instead began to formulate his “aesthetic system.” In 1903 he returned to Dublin to be with his dying mother, an encounter that haunted him throughout his life and is replayed in Ulysses. In June 1904 he met Nora Barnacle, and together they left Ireland and traveled to Paris, Zurich, Trieste, and Pola. In 1909 Joyce returned to Dublin to set up Ireland’s first cinema, the Volta. He visited Dublin once again in 1912, after which he never returned. Joyce began publishing stories in the Irish Homestead, and these stories eventually became his collection Dubliners. Joyce had enormous difficulty securing a publisher for Dubliners, which one printer destroyed for its vulgarity, religious slurs, and sexual innuendoes. Dubliners was rejected by 12 publishers for its sexuality, immorality, and anti-Catholicism, and especially strong objections were raised to “The Boarding House” and “An Encounter.” Grant Richards eventually published the collection in 1914, the same year Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was appearing serially in the Egoist. Dubliners was published in New York in 1916. Joyce’s Ulysses, arguably

the central prose work of modern literature, appeared in 1922, the same year as T. S. Eliot’s modern poetic masterpiece, The Wasteland. Ulysses was not published in the United States until 1934, after a court ruling that it was not pornographic following a complaint by the Society for the Prevention of Vice. Joyce and Nora married in 1931. Joyce’s final work, Finnegans Wake, appeared under the title “Work in Progress” in the Paris journal transition and was published in 1939. Following the outbreak of World War II, the Joyces returned to unoccupied France, but they were forced to leave in 1940 and travel to Zurich, where Joyce died on January 13, 1941. Critics have argued that Dubliners is a study in the economic and spiritual paralysis of the modern city and that the coll